Blood in stool, weight loss & shortness of breath could be early signs of sarcoma, suggests Dr Ketan Dang

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Blood in stool, weight loss & shortness of breath could be early signs of sarcoma, suggests Dr Ketan Dang

Sarcomas are rare cancers that arise from the muscle, fat, fibrous, cartilage, nerve and blood vessels. These occur in the bones and soft tissues such as fat, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and deep skin tissues.

With an aim to sensitise the masses on sarcoma and its related complications, World Sarcoma Month is observed in July every year. The theme of this year being “Raising Awareness to Create Survivors.”

Dr Ketan Dang, Consultant, Oncology, Fortis Hospital Mohali in an advisory explains the causes, symptoms and ways to detect sarcoma.

What is sarcoma
Stating that sarcoma is a rare malignant tumour cancer that grows in connective tissue (cells that connect other tissue in the body), Dr Dang added, “Though these cancers can develop anywhere in the body, these are mostly found on the arms, legs, chest and abdomen.”

Signs & symptoms
Discussing the symptoms of sarcoma, Dr Dang, said, “A painless lump or any swelling warrants medical intervention. Blood in stool, abdominal pain, weight loss and shortness of breath should be brought to the notice of an oncologist. Some sarcomas may exert pressure on the adjoining nerves and organs, thereby causing pain and breathing problems. Bone sarcoma causes pain and/or swelling in the arm or leg, trunk or the back. It affects joint movement, can cause fever and fracture of bones for no apparent cause.”

Types of sarcomas
Shedding light on the various types of sarcomas, Dr Dang, added, “These mainly constitute soft-tissue sarcomas, synovial sarcoma, liposarcoma, de-differentiated liposarcoma, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour, low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma, ewing’s sarcoma, osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma etc.”

Diagnosis
Dr Dang said the diagnosis of sarcoma included biopsy and histopathologic evaluation of the tumour along with immunohistochemistry and molecular testing. “A complete evaluation involves imaging of the chest, abdomen and rest of the body usually through a PET-CT scan,” he added.

Treatment options
Giving information on the treatment procedures, Dr Dang, added, “These include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These basically depend on the stage and type of the tumour. At Fortis Hospital Mohali, Molecular Testing is conducted following which Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy is offered to sarcoma patients. The Tumour Board comprising a surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist and pathologist, deliberate on the best line of treatment and meticulously plan treatment strategies for individual patients.”

 

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