July is Sarcoma Awareness month and whilst Sarcomas are rare cancers it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and tell-tale signs. There are three main types of sarcoma: soft tissue sarcoma, bone sarcoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST).
Tissues that can be affected by soft tissue sarcomas include fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, tendons and ligaments. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in almost any part of the body, including the legs, arms and tummy (abdomen).
Bone sarcomas affect less than 500 people in the UK each year, making it a very rare form of cancer. Not all bone cancers will be sarcomas.
Signs and Symptoms
Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Symptoms of sarcoma can vary depending on the size and location of your tumour. You may experience all, some or none of these symptoms before you are diagnosed with a sarcoma:
A lump or swelling in the soft tissue of the body under the skin, often on the arm, leg or trunk that is:
Increasing in size
Larger than 5cm
Usually painful, but not always
Bone pain, particularly occurring at night
A mass or swelling
Restricted movement in a joint
Symptoms can sometimes be confused with more common problems such as a sports injury or in children and young people or growing pains.
GIST is the most common type of sarcoma. It develops in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a long tube running through the body from the oesophagus (gullet) to the anus (back passage) and includes the stomach and intestines.
Symptoms of GIST can vary depending on the size and location of the tumour. They may include:
Blood in your poo or vomit
Anaemia (low level red blood cells)
Fever and sweating at night
Discomfort or pain in your tummy
Painless lump in the tummy
Feeling sick and vomiting