Dr Manish Pruthi, Consultant – Musculoskeletal Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, told IANSlife: “A sarcoma is a rare kind of cancer. Sarcomas are different from the much more common carcinomas because they happen in a different kind of tissue. Sarcomas grow in connective tissue — cells that connect or support other kinds of tissue in your body. These tumours are most common in the bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, nerves, and blood vessels of your arms and legs, but they can also happen in other areas of your body.”
Though sarcoma accounts for 3 percent of all cancers in adults and 10-15 percent in the pediatric age group, the disease needs to be considered in right earnest to save life as well as limbs. There is a need to raise awareness as most cases get reported late.
“Usually the tumour goes unnoticed in limbs or an inappropriate surgery is done. This can lead to further damage and also pose a threat to lose the affected limb, which can have a significant impact on the life of young children and/or adults. We need to preserve the function of the affected limb and cure the cancer.
“Most of the primary bone sarcomas happens in young age (<20 years) without known risk factors. So initially when the cancer is diagnosed, most parents are naturally in shock. In the national capital region, another major issue is that not many hospitals have sarcoma management teams, which comprises of dedicated pediatric/medical oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiation oncologists and rehabilitation services,” he says.
Talking about prevention, Dr Pruthi says, prevention doesn’t play a role here, as there are no significant risk factors. So, what’s important is early and correct diagnosis. One should not ignore the persistent pain or increasing swelling in limbs, which is not responding to conservative treatment. Usually there is some history of injury, many of the times parents/child can implicate a persistent pain to injury sometime back.
It’s not that every tumour/lump is cancerous; it could be an infection or a benign tumour. Sarcoma is a rare condition to have. Emphasis should be given on not ignoring increasing swelling or pain in limbs especially in young adults, as it could be sarcoma. Be aware, create awareness, diagnose sarcoma early, warns Dr Pruthi.