This week is Sarcoma Awareness Week. According to research, 75% of people are not sure, or do not know, what sarcoma is. In this blog, Information Development Nurse Teri gives an overview of the most common types of sarcoma and what symptoms to be aware of and tell your GP about.
Many of you may not have heard of the word sarcoma. Even if you have heard of sarcomas, you may not be sure what they are. For those who are unsure, sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that affects about 5,300 people in the UK each year.
Sarcomas develop in connective tissue. This tissue is made up of cells that connect or support other kinds of tissue in our bodies. Sarcomas can develop in any part of the body, including muscle, bone, blood vessels and fatty tissues.
What types of sarcoma are there?
There are many different types of sarcoma that are more broadly divided into 2 types:
Soft tissue sarcomas
Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in soft tissues such as, fat, muscle, nerves and blood vessels. Each type of soft tissue sarcoma is named after the type of cell it started from.
Some of the most common soft tissue sarcomas include:
The symptoms will depend on the part the body that is affected.
The main symptom is:
Other symptoms may include:
Most soft tissue lumps are not cancer. But if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get them checked by your GP.
We have more information about signs and symptoms of a soft tissue sarcoma.
A bone sarcoma or primary bone cancer is less common than a soft tissue sarcoma. It can affect any bone in the body but most commonly it affects the legs.
The most common types of sarcoma that start in the bone include:
Possible symptoms to be aware of are:
Other symptoms can include tiredness, a high temperature, increased sweating and weight loss.
Many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions that are much more common than bone cancer. But always see your GP if you have pain in your bones, that lasts longer than a few weeks and has no obvious cause. They should refer you to a bone specialist (orthopaedic doctor) to find out the cause. We have more information about signs of symptoms of a primary bone cancer.
To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.
We're with you every step of the way
The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.
Comments? Feel free to add them below (you need to be logged in).
Keep in touch Follow Macmillan’s cancer information team on Twitter @mac_cancerinfo