What is Sarcoma

When Abbie was first diagnosed, she had never heard of Sarcoma. We were to find out!!

Sarcoma is a group of rare primary bone and soft tissue tumours, given a number of different names depending on the type of tissue from which they arise. Examples of soft tissue sarcomas are: leiomyosarcoma,(from smooth muscle); liposarcoma (from fat); chondrosarcoma (from cartilage); rhabdomyosarcoma, and synovial sarcoma, whilst osteosarcoma and Ewings’s Sarcoma (the variant with which Abbie was diagnosed) arise from bone.

There are over 30 variants of bone cancer, and over 70 variations of all sarcomas. Some varieties most commonly arise in children, adolescents and young adults and in adults over the age of 55.

The causes of sarcoma, including whether or not there are any underlying genetic links, are not yet established. This is the reason why more research into the molecular biology and etiology is so crucial. In the case of Ewing’s Sarcoma, it is known that there is a translocation of genes 11 and 22, but the reason for this is still undetermined.

There are approximately 1200 new cases diagnosed each year in Australia which account for approximately 1% of all adult malignancies and 15% of paediatric malignancies.

Common symptoms of sarcoma can include:

  • a swelling or lump, which may or may not be painful and which changes in size
  • a pain in the back or limb that appears to have no cause
  • unrelieved pain when at rest, particularly at night
  • weight loss
  • fatigue.

They can often be attributed to a sports injury or other causes. If you notice any changes in your body, go and see your doctor. If you’re worried that your concerns aren’t being taken seriously, keep going back, go and see a different doctor or find someone else to talk to. With sarcoma, the quicker the diagnosis, the better!

Don’t be afraid to take control of your health!

SITS fact sheet