Sarcoma Awareness Month: Who is the most at risk and what to look out for

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Sarcomas include about 75 different types of cancer that form in soft tissue, bones or connective tissue and can occur with people exposed to radiation.

Dr. Derrick Cox, surgical oncologist at the Hospitals of Providence, said about 15,000 people a year get some sort of sarcoma in the United States.

He explained, even though this cancer is not as widely spread as some others, it still needs to be talked about to try and raise awareness and encourage people to do regular check ups.

Those most at risk of getting a sarcoma are people who have been exposed to radiation, harmful chemicals or have hereditary conditions that cause growth of tumors.

“Someone that has breast cancer, that may require radiation to the affected side and the affected tissue – fifteen or twenty years down the line, they can get something called angiosarcoma,” Dr. Cox explained.

The common symptoms for sarcoma are usually vague, he said. It can be abdominal pain or lumps, however, he said it’s important to listen to your body.

“In general, if you have vague abdominal pain or you have a lump on your extremities or any part of your body, don’t just write it off, go ahead and see a physician,” he said.

If the doctor suspects that you may have a sarcoma, you will undergo an incisional biopsy where the doctor will remove a part of the tumor to further examine it.

Dr. Cox explained that the main treatment for these types of cancers is surgical removal along with chemotherapy and radiation that help shrink it and prevent further growth, but also sterilize the area around the sarcoma, so it can be removed successfully.

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