Sarcoma is an oncological disease – a malignant neoplasm that can affect both soft and bone tissues. With timely access to a doctor and the absence of metastases, the survival prognosis is good – up to 90%.
What is sarcoma: causes and types
By this concept we mean not one disease, but a whole group of diseases associated with oncological processes – active division of connective tissue.
It is still not always possible to determine the exact cause of the pathology, since new studies are needed. In most cases , such adverse factors lead to sarcoma:
- severe injuries to different parts of the body with irreversible tissue changes;
- complications after organ transplant operations;
- hereditary predisposition, the presence of similar diseases in the family;
- the formation of benign tumors that can degenerate into malignant;
- harmful effects on the body – dangerous chemicals, radiation;
- infection with viruses that can lead to oncological processes (for example, papilloma, hepatitis B);
- neglected chronic diseases, for example, osteomyelitis;
- excessively active growth of the body, for example, in adolescence.
Sarcoma can affect different parts of the body, so in general there are 2 large groups:
Soft tissue sarcoma – tumors form in the muscles, glands, adipose and other soft tissues of the body. In these cases, they talk about liposarcomas, fibrosarcomas, etc.
Bone sarcoma – affects bone and cartilage structures. In these cases, for example, chondrosarcoma or osteosarcoma is diagnosed.
Also, tumors are divided depending on the degree of lesion:
- localized – sarcoma affects only one area;
- metastatic – the tumor metastases to different parts of the body.
Sarcoma: the main symptoms
At an early stage of development, the neoplasm practically does not make itself felt in any way. But gradually characteristic symptoms develop:
- strong or weak, barely noticeable pain in the area of tumor formation – they may not be very frequent or, conversely, permanent;
- deformity of the bone, spine;
- general fatigue, weakness;
- weight loss;
- loss of appetite;
- an increase in the volume of lymph nodes;
- under the skin, tumors may be visible visually or palpable;
- disruption in the work of all organs due to metastases;
- pathological fracture – occurs due to Ewing’s sarcoma;
- headache, dizziness.
It is important to understand that many symptoms of sarcoma are nonspecific, they do not necessarily speak specifically about this disease. But if any of the described signs is observed for a long time or periodically repeats, it is necessary to immediately consult a doctor in order not to start the disease.
Basic diagnostic methods
First of all, you need to contact a therapist. The doctor conducts a visual examination, if necessary, sends for additional examination to an oncologist, endocrinologist or other specialists. For an accurate diagnosis, an examination is indicated:
- blood test – general, biochemical;
- urine analysis – general;
- x-ray of affected areas and joints;
- Ultrasound of the affected areas, as well as lymph nodes and abdominal cavity;
- scintigraphy (special examination of bones);
- biopsy is the sampling of biological tissue directly from the site of the lesion for further analysis.
Modern methods of sarcoma treatment
The success of treatment largely depends on how quickly the patient turned to the doctor. As a rule, the doctor prescribes chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery.
Chemotherapy is often combined with surgery. If intervention is not possible, it is used as the main method of treatment. To do this, prescribe a course of cytostatics and other drugs that destroy metastases and prevent relapses.
The dosage and type of drugs are determined in accordance with the condition, gender, age, and physiological characteristics of a person. Simultaneously with chemotherapy, taking medications to reduce side effects is indicated.
Radiation (radiotherapy) is a procedure of ionizing radiation of the desired part of the body. In the case of sarcoma, this method is not very effective, so it is rarely used, mainly as an additional remedy.
Prognosis for recovery
The chances of successful treatment depend on different circumstances:
- localization of the tumor;
- its size;
- stage of development;
- presence/absence of metastases;
- the possibility of intervention;
- age, condition of the patient;
- concomitant diseases.
If the tumor is localized, i.e. it has failed to metastasize, the survival rate within 5 years is 70%. If it is treatable with cytostatics, the prognosis improves by up to 90%. When metastases are detected in the bones, in the bone marrow area, the chances are significantly reduced – up to 30%.
In some cases, the return of sarcoma in the form of a relapse is not excluded. In this case, the tumor may appear both in the same place and in a new place. Therefore, even if the fact of full recovery is noted, patients should be diagnosed annually for prevention purposes. Especially carefully monitor your health in the first 3 years after therapy or surgery.
Lifestyle changes, nutrition correction, abstinence from alcohol and smoking are shown. It is necessary to engage in regular physical activity, ensure a healthy, full sleep, and avoid severe stress.