What is sarcoma? Do not ignore the swelling in the body! Muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves and tissues surrounding the joint (synovia) outside the hard bone and cartilage tissues in our body are classified as ‘soft tissues’. Malignant tumors that develop in these tissues are also called soft tissue cancers, as they are called ‘sarcoma’ in the medical language.
As high as 60 percent of these tumors occur in the arms, legs and hips, while 40 percent develop in the chest, sunken, head and neck. Soft tissue tumors, the cause of which has not yet been determined, usually occur in young adults and children. So much so that sarcoma accounts for 15 percent of childhood cancers.
Malignant soft tissue tumors can grow painlessly until they reach the size that the patient notices. The first symptoms can also begin insidiously; it can be blunt and constant in the form of mild pain. It is extremely important to take these pains into account especially for early diagnosis.
The cause is not yet known
Although the exact cause of the formation of soft tissue tumors is not yet known, mutations in DNA are thought to be responsible for the development of this cancer. In addition, some inherited diseases, some viruses such as lymphedema, HPV, some industrial chemicals such as radiotherapy, arsenic, some traumas and pesticides are among the factors that increase the risk.
Care about the swelling in the body!
Soft tissue tumors can grow for a long time without any symptoms. Whichever part of the tumor is holding the body, the symptoms vary according to that location. It usually signals with swelling or mass in the arms, legs or torso.
Experts said the swelling can be painful or painless, adding, “If the malignant tumor leans against and damages the bone or nerve tissue located near it; pain, numbness, tingling or fire.”
But the pain can begin insidiously; At first it can be blunt and continuously mild pain. Pain that is not exacerbated by increased movement and activity can also develop while resting. It can get worse in the evening and at night. If the tumor caused the tissue to weaken in the bone where it was located, the bone can be broken with a simple fall or a slight trauma. These symptoms can also be accompanied by fever and night sweats.
Biopsy affects the success of the treatment
After the detailed history and examination from the patient, body imaging methods such as X-rays, ultrasound, tomography and MRI provide information about the source of the problem, the location of the tumor in the body and the characteristics of the mass that causes the problem, if any.
One of the first and most important stages in the decision-making and planning process of tumor treatment is to plan the ‘biopsy’ method. Because incorrect biopsies can negatively affect the outcome of treatment. If the biopsy indicates that the tumor is malignant, bone scintigraphy and PET-CT examinations that will examine other parts of the body are immediately started.
Multidisciplinary approach is very important
The main treatment of soft tissue cancer is surgical method, which is performed with wide limits, that is, the tumor is removed so that there are no residues in the body.
In some cases, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be added before or after surgery in addition to treatment. It is decided by a team of orthopedists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and plastic surgery specialists which of these treatment methods will be performed first. If the planning of the treatment is done well from the beginning, better results are obtained from surgical treatment. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach and good planning play a key role in the success of the treatment.