What is Sarcoma Cancer? 5 Things You Need to Know

Sarcoma is called the “forgotten cancer,” as it’s a form of the disease that is much more rare than others, and because of that, it often doesn’t get the attention it should. However, although it’s less common, sarcoma can still pose a serious risk to someone’s health, so it’s important to be educated about the condition. July is a perfect time to do that, as it’s Sarcoma Awareness Month.

What is Sarcoma Cancer?

Before you can dive in and do your part to encourage sarcoma awareness, it’s helpful to first understand what the condition actually is. Sarcoma is a type of cancer that can be found anywhere in the body and typically is defined as either soft tissue or bone, with dozens of different categories of each. Sarcomas are often difficult to detect and diagnose, though they unfortunately claim more than 6,500 American lives every year, with more than 15,000 new diagnoses each year in the United States, according to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

How Can I Promote Sarcoma Awareness?

Keeping those statistics in mind, spreading sarcoma awareness can be a vital tool in helping to save lives. Here are five important things you need to know — and that you should tell others in your life! — about sarcoma cancer:

  1. Most sarcomas have no known cause: Unlike other forms of cancer, there are no known risk factors for sarcoma. However, certain genetic conditions such as Gardner syndrome or lymph-system damage can enhance the risk, and exposure to radiation, certain herbicides and other chemicals are also thought to play a role.
  2. Sarcomas are rare among adults, but more common among children: Only about 1% of all adult cancer diagnoses are categorized as sarcomas, although that figure stands at about 15% for those under age 20.
  3. Many cases occur in the extremities: While sarcomas can grow in any part of the body, between 50-60% of soft-tissue sarcomas begin in the arms and legs. Other common areas include the head, neck and chest.
  4. Misdiagnosis is common: Since sarcoma awareness isn’t as common as understanding of other cancers, even among physicians, sarcomas are often undetected or misdiagnosed. Complicating the matter is that soft-tissue sarcomas are often painless before they begin to grow and spread, delaying the onset of symptoms.
  5. Second opinions are vital: No matter your level of care, if you’re been diagnosed with a sarcoma, it’s important to ensure more than one oncologist weighs in on your case. Since sarcomas aren’t as common as other types of cancers, having a full team of trained physicians examining your case can help highlight the best path forward.

Learn more about what options you might have financially if you’re diagnosed with this rare disease by contacting us, and find out if you qualify for Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loan.

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