Sarcoma is a rare cancer diagnosed approximately 200,000 times annually. Developing in the bone or muscle, soft tissue and bone sarcomas are most common. They’re found in fat, nerves, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues and can occur in any part of the body. Numerous soft tissue tumors can be found and not all of them, however, are cancerous. When paired with the term ‘sarcoma’ and the name of a disease, the tumor is malignant.
Currently, no proof exists as to why these cancers form, nor is there evidence of things (other than standard cancer causing agents) to avoid. According to the American Cancer Society, sarcomas are often linked to exposure to radiation, certain family cancer syndromes, damaged lymph systems, and certain chemical exposures. Unlike many cancers, “injury and lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, and exercise are not linked to the risk of soft tissue sarcoma.”
Because of the breadth of locations sarcomas can exist, the ACS recommends getting a doctor’s evaluation of any new or growing lumps, abdominal pain, and blood in bodily secretions. These symptoms are often caused by other factors than sarcoma, but they can nonetheless be indicating factors. As with other cancers, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy are options for treatment.
Much like other cancers, sarcomas have night sweats and hot flashes and both a symptom of the cancer itself and often as side effects of treatment. As always, consult a doctor with any health concerns.