What is Sarcoma?
The word sarcoma originates from Greek word sarx meaning “flesh”. However, in reality, sarcoma is a cancer which can arise from any connective tissues in the body. Examples of connective tissue include bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, as well as other tissue of mesenchymal origin. In the United States, there are approximately 15,000 new cases of sarcoma each year. There are many different types of sarcomas and their names are derived from the various types of tissue from which they arise.
Some Examples Include:
- Osteosarcoma – which is a sarcoma arising from bone
- Chondrosarcoma – which is a sarcoma arising from cartilage
- Rhabdosarcoma – which is a sarcoma arising from skeletal muscle
- Leiomyosarcoma – which is a sarcoma arising from smooth muscle
- Liposarcoma – which is a sarcoma arising from fat cells
- Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans (DFSP) – which is a sarcoma arising from skin cells
There are many other types of sarcomas as well.
What Causes Sarcoma?
Sarcoma can arise in the setting of a genetic syndrome. However, most sarcomas arise from individuals without a genetic syndrome. Most researchers believe that sporadic mutation of cells of connective tissue cause sarcoma.Sometimes sarcomas are associated with previous exposure to radiation.
How is Sarcoma Treated?
Sarcoma is often treated by surgery to move the tumor. The extent of the surgery depends on the size and location of the tumor. General principles include removing the entire intact tumor with negative margins. Sometimes this requires removal of nearby structures or organs that may be in contact with the tumor. The surgeons at Trihealth have signifiacnt experience in performing these surgeries. Due to the involvement of nearby structures, these surgeries often require require expertise and coordination from multiple surgical subspecialties such as orthopaedic surgery, urology, and vascular surgery. While surgery to remove the tumor is the mainstay of treatment, other treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy may be indicated and utilized before or after surgery.