Cancer awareness matters. July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, and we wanted to share information about the symptoms and risk factors for this relatively rare type of cancer to help you learn more about sarcoma.
Types of Sarcoma
There are 2 main types of sarcoma: soft tissue sarcomas (affecting the body’s soft, connective tissue) and bone sarcomas (attack the marrow of the bone). While both are rare types of cancer, soft tissue sarcomas are more common than bone sarcomas.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), this year about 12,020 people in America will contract soft tissue sarcomas.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma Symptoms and Risk Factors
The ACS points out that soft tissue sarcomas may be difficult to identify.
A majority of sarcomas begin in an arm or a leg, causing a lump that may or may not be painful. Sometimes, people do not notice the lump for weeks or months.
About 20% of sarcomas begin in the abdomen or stomach, causing internal blockage or bleeding. A few types of sarcoma also originate outside the chest or stomach, or on the head or neck.
If you have any of these problems, there is at least a chance you might have soft tissue sarcoma:
The ACS also provides a comprehensive list of soft tissue sarcoma cancer risk factors, which may include:
Bone Sarcoma Risk Factors and Symptoms
Osteosarcoma (bone sarcoma) is primarily a young person’s disease, found most often in people between the ages of 10 and 30 during their teenage growth spurt. The risk goes down for middle-ages people, but rises again slightly in the elderly – usually in people who have already had another type of bone disease.
The Sarcoma Alliance (SA) provides a list of osteosarcoma symptoms, pointing out that bone cancer symptoms can vary based on the tumor’s location and size. These conditions can all be a sign of osteosarcoma:
The ACS also details a number of the most common risk factors for bone sarcoma:
(Image via The Oncologist.)