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Sarcoma

What Is Sarcoma?

Affecting the connective tissues that hold the body together, sarcoma is a cancer that can arise anywhere in the body. Most often, sarcomas affect the limbs, the site of most of the body’s connective tissue.

While researchers currently remain unsure of the exact causes of sarcoma, they suspect a number of risk factors. These include:

  • Excessive radiation

  • Exposure to certain chemicals, specifically those found in wood preservatives and herbicides

  • Genetics

Symptoms

Determining the presence of sarcoma requires precise testing. This may include nearly every sort of imaging test from X-ray to positron emission tomography scans. Should these tests indicate sarcoma, a biopsy provides definitive diagnosis.

Prior to testing, however, an individual with sarcoma may experience a number of symptoms, which are often the result of the tumor. Symptoms of sarcoma include the following:

  • Lumps — Old lumps begin growing or new lumps form.

  • Pain — Often, pain is located in the abdomen and worsens over time.

  • Difficulty walking, if the tumor is located on a lower extremity.

  • Nausea or vomiting, if the mass is in the abdomen and pushing onto other organs.

Treatment Options

Depending on the size and location of the sarcoma, oncologists utilize one or more treatment methods, which are:

  • Chemotherapy — Frequently used in conjunction with radiotherapy, chemotherapy uses cancer-fighting medication to do the same task as radiation therapy: shrink and destroy cancer cells.

  • Radiation therapy — Using a high-dose X-ray, oncologists shrink sarcoma tumors or destroy cancer cells left following surgery.

  • Surgery — In most cases, the cancerous cells are surgically removed, along with some of the healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. This ensures all cancer is taken from the body.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of sarcoma, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat sarcoma.