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Sarcoma

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Although relatively rare, sarcoma can occur in any location in the body. The most common sites include the extremities, trunk and abdomen.

What is sarcoma?

Most often found in the head, neck, arms, legs, trunk and abdomen, sarcoma is a type of cancer that arises from the soft tissues of the body. These soft tissues include muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and tissues that surround the joints.

Who develops sarcoma?

Risk factors increase your odds of developing cancer, but that doesn’t mean you will get cancer.
Certain inherited disorders can increase the risk, including:

  • familial adenomatous polyposis (Gardner syndrome)
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; von Recklinghausen disease)
  • nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin syndrome)
  • retinoblastoma
  • tuberous sclerosis (Bourneville disease)
  • Werner syndrome

Other risk factors for sarcoma are:

  • chronic lymphedema (swelling) in the extremities
  • exposure to chemicals, such as thorium dioxide, vinyl chloride and arsenic
  • past radiation treatment

What are the symptoms of sarcoma?

Sarcoma may first appear as a lump or swelling in the body’s soft tissue—usually in an arm or leg. Large sarcomas that develop in the abdomen may press on organs or nerves and trigger pain or problems breathing. Other conditions may mimic sarcoma, so if you have any symptoms, it’s important to get checked out by your physician.

How is sarcoma diagnosed?

To determine whether you have sarcoma, your physician will likely perform a biopsy. This sample can also help tell him or her whether the tumor is slow-growing or more aggressive. It is very important that this procedure is done correctly, or it may affect further therapies.

How is sarcoma treated?

Treatment options may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapy (medications that target cancer-causing gene changes in cells).

Valley Hospital is proud to offer the latest treatment options for sarcoma. For more information, call 201-634-5339.

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