What is Sarcoma?
Sarcoma is an unusual type of cancer which can be found in any part of the body and across all ages, from young children to the elderly. There are many different types of sarcoma. They are generally split into Bone Sarcoma (BS) and Soft Tissue Sarcoma (STS). They often present with a lump or bone pain that is not getting better.
What are the signs?
Because Sarcoma is a rare cancer, less than 2% of new cancers, it is often overlooked and presents late. Common signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain in a bone which is not getting better and may be worse at night.
- A lump anywhere in the limbs or torso which is quickly getting bigger and may be painful.
- Feeling full after only eating small amounts.
- Change in bowel habit with blood in the stool or vomit.
What causes it?
It is not understood what causes sarcoma. Previous exposure to radiation, and some syndromes are linked to sarcoma, but it is usually random.
How is it treated?
The treatment for sarcoma is multidisciplinary and multimodal. Treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or a combination of these depending on the type and location of the tumour. All cases of sarcoma, or suspected sarcoma, in New Zealand are reviewed and discussed by the weekly specialist Sarcoma Multidisciplinary Teams (MDT). These are located in Christchurch and Auckland. The MDT consist of sarcoma experts from surgery, medical and radiation oncology, radiology, pathology and specialist sarcoma nurses.