6 Signs of Sarcoma

Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that grows in connective tissue. It can form in the bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, nerves, and fat of any part of your body. There are two main forms of sarcoma: tumors that grow in your soft tissue and tumors that grow in your bone, or osteosarcomas. Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes sarcoma, but genetics, other bone disorders, and exposure to radiation or certain chemicals all might increase your risk of developing it. This type of cancer is about equally common in children and adults.

There are about 50 different types of soft tissue sarcoma, and doctors can perform a few different tests to discover the exact nature of the tumor. If your doctor suspects that you have this cancer, you may have an X-ray, an MRI, a computerized tomography scan, or a positron emission tomography. You may also need a biopsy to determine the type of cancer. Like other forms of cancer, sarcoma can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Before you are diagnosed and start treatment, though, you must speak to your doctor about the symptoms. Some of these symptoms may seem minor or unimportant, and you might not think you need to see your doctor. However, they could be signs of cancer. Here are six common signs and symptoms of sarcoma:

1. Abnormal Lump

An abnormal lump is typically the very first sign of sarcoma. These lumps are usually the most noticeable when they form on your arm or leg, but they can develop anywhere on your body. About 20 percent of sarcomas form in the abdominal area, and about 10 percent form around the neck or head. Most of these lumps are painless, but they can become very large. You may notice a small lump that you’ve never seen before, and it could double in size within a week or two. These tumors can develop in elastic tissues, so they can push your healthy tissue aside and keep growing. Once a lump gets large enough that it pushes against your nerves and muscles, it may become painful.

It’s important to remember that most lumps are not cancer. If you find a lump on your body, it is likely a lipoma, which is noncancerous and made of fat cells. However, you should always talk to your doctor if you discover a lump on your body that’s larger than 2 inches, causes pain, or has grown in size. It’s better to take the time to have the lump checked out by a doctor than to risk letting a tumor go untreated.