Sarcoma information

Sarcoma information

Angiosarcoma is a type of soft tissue tumor that can develop in the inner lining of blood vessels and lymph vessels. This type of cancer can occur anywhere in the body, although it most often forms in the skin (particularly on the scalp and face), breasts, liver and spleen. Angiosarcoma is generally an aggressive form of cancer that grows relatively quickly.

Bone cancer is a rare type of cancer that arises from bone and cartilage, commonly presenting with a painful lump (tumour) in limbs. The most common places where bone sarcoma develops are around the knee, wrist, shoulder and pelvis.

— Chondrosarcoma 

Chondrosarcoma develops from the cells that produce cartilage. Less than one-third of bone sarcomas are chondrosarcomas. It is more commonly found among older people than children. Unlike the other bone cancers chondrosarcoma is more often found in the spine and pelvis than in the legs or arms.

— Chordoma

Chordoma is a rare, malignant bone cancer that develops at the base of the skull or in the spine. Chordomas are slow-growing but have a tendency to recur after treatment, and can spread (or metastasize) through the bloodstream to other parts of the body.

— Desmoid-type Fibromatosis

Desmoid-type fibromatosis (DF) is sometimes called Desmoid Tumour. These tumours are slow-growing tumours. They tend to spread to nearby tissues but not to other parts of your body. Desmoid tumours may occur on their own without any other known condition (sporadic desmoid) or may occur in association with an underlying genetic condition known as Familial Adenomatosis Polyposis syndrome (hereditary desmoid). Patients with this syndrome may also be at risk for tumours in the lower digestive tract.

— Ewing’s Sarcoma

Ewing’s sarcoma is actually several types of sarcomas known as the Ewing’s family of tumours. In Ireland, there are about 20 cases diagnosed each year, generally in children and young adults under the age of 30. It can be found in any bone but is most common in the bones of the lower body such as the pelvis, tibia (shin), fibula (shin) and femur (thigh). The vast majority of Ewing’s sarcoma are associated with an alteration in a gene known as the EWSR1 gene, which is very helpful in confirming the diagnosis on core biopsy.

— Fibroblastic Sarcoma

A fibrosarcoma is a rare, malignant type of soft tissue sarcoma that is made of fibrous connective tissues that connect, support, and surround the bones. They can spread and divide incredibly quickly. Initial symptoms are not obvious, however, over time, you may notice a lump or swelling that may increase in size, pain or tenderness in the same area, fatigue, and unintentional weight loss.

— Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours (GIST)

Gastrointestinal means the sarcoma starts in the digestive system (the gastrointestinal tract). Stromal means it develops from the Interstitial Cells of Cajal (ICC) that play a role in the movement of the digestive system. These cells send signals to the muscles in the wall of the digestive system that help move food and liquid along. GIST is the most common type of sarcoma. They are usually treated with surgery alone, but some people require drug treatment before or after they are removed.

— Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone

Giant cell tumours of the bone tend to be benign (non-cancerous), but they can be locally aggressive. Giant cell tumours of the bone are named due to the way they look under a microscope. Many ‘giant cells’ can be seen, which are cells that have formed due to the joining together (fusion) of several individual cells into one single, larger, cell. This production of giant cells can be seen in other conditions and cancers of the bone, as well as in normal bone. Therefore, confirming the diagnosis of a giant cell tumour of the bone is done after ruling out other giant-cell rich diseases.

— Gynaecological Sarcoma

Gynaecological sarcoma is a term used for all the types of cancer that can occur in or on a woman’s reproductive organs and genitals. This includes cancers of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. They can affect women of any age although they are very rare in women under the age of 30.

— Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the skin, mouth and occasionally the internal organs. The classical type arises within the skin (especially skin over the lower legs) in adults. The second type can affect children or adults and may involve lymph nodes. A third type affects patients with retroviral infection and may involve skin, lungs, the digestive tract and the mouth. All variants of Kaposi sarcoma are associated with a virus known as Human Herpes Virus-8 (HHV8).

— Leiomyosarcoma

Leiomyosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that begins in smooth muscle tissue. Smooth muscle tissue is found in many areas of the body, such as the digestive system, urinary system, blood vessels and uterus. Leiomyosarcoma most often begins in the abdomen or uterus.

— Liposarcoma

Liposarcoma is a very rare type of cancer. It starts in your fat tissue. It can grow anywhere in your body. The most common places are inside your belly (abdomen), the thighs, and behind your knee. There are different types of liposarcoma based on how the cells look under a microscope. Liposarcomas tend to show up in people between ages 50 and 65.

— Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumour (MPNST)

Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumours are usually found in young to middle-aged adults and are more common in males. They occur in the nerves which are not in the brain or spinal cord. These tumours spread to the surrounding soft tissue forming a lumpy tumour. This type of cancer can spread through the bloodstream. These tumours can be painful and tender and may occur in patients who have a syndrome known as neurofibromatosis.

— Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary bone cancer in children and young people, and the second most common overall after chondrosarcoma. Osteosarcoma starts when one bone cell becomes abnormal and grows out of control to form a lump of cancerous tissue known as a tumour. The cells in the tumour still act like bone, in that they try to create new bone as they grow and divide. If a pathologist can see new bone (known as osteoid) in a tumour sample under the microscope, this helps to confirm a diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

— Retroperitoneal Sarcoma

Retroperitoneal sarcoma is a rare subtype of soft tissue sarcoma that can develop within the abdominal cavity directly against the perineum. Retroperitoneal sarcoma tumors can grow to a very large size and press against or spread into surrounding organs and major blood vessels. In fact, up to half of all surgeries for retroperitoneal sarcoma may involve removing one kidney and a portion of the large intestines or colon. In some cases, major blood vessels may need to be removed and reconstructed.

— Rhabdomyosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of sarcoma, or cancer, of the muscles and accounts for approximately five percent of all childhood cancers, and more than half of the soft tissue sarcomas diagnosed in children. It can appear anywhere in the body, but most commonly originates in the head and neck region; extremities (arms, elbows, legs, knees, thighs, feet, or shoulders); trunk (abdominal wall, breast or chest wall); orbit (bones of the eye socket or optic nerves); pelvis; and gastrointestinal tract. The disease can occur at any time throughout childhood, but is most commonly diagnosed in children under age six.

— Soft Tissue Ewing’s Sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcomas develop in supporting or connective tissue such as the muscle, nerves, tendons, blood vessels and fatty and fibrous tissues. They commonly affect the arms, legs and trunk. They also appear in the stomach and intestines (GIST) as well as behind the abdomen (retroperitoneal sarcomas) and the female reproductive system (gynaecological sarcomas).

— Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Soft tissue sarcoma refers to cancer that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body. The tumors can be found anywhere in the body but often form in the arms, legs, chest, or abdomen. Signs of soft tissue sarcoma include a lump or swelling in soft tissue. Sometimes there are no signs or symptoms until the tumor is big and presses on nearby nerves or other parts of the body.

— Synovial Sarcoma

Synovial sarcoma is usually found in young adults. It is most commonly found in the arms or legs next to a joint (where two bones meet). They are usually found around the joint capsule but rarely spread into the joint itself. The most common site is next to the knee. They are also commonly found near the foot, ankle and hand. Unlike other soft tissue sarcomas, synovial sarcomas are frequently painful.