Tumors are of two types: benign and malignant. Benign tumors are localized while malignant tumors are widespread. “Soft tissue sarcoma” is a malignant tumor of soft tissues of body. Soft tissues include muscles, fats, blood vessels, nerves and tendons. Soft tissues provide structural support and make the integrity of human body.
Soft tissue sarcoma Causes
The exact reason of soft tissue sarcoma is unknown. But there are some factors which can cause this malignant tumor:
- Family history
Soft tissue sarcoma can be genetic and hereditary. It may run in families. There are few genetic disorders in which chances for the development this tumor are quite high.
It’s the genetic disorder of nerves. The people with this disease are more prone to develop malignant tumors in the sheaths of nerve cells, a condition called “malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor”
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
In this genetic abnormality there is alteration of p53 gene. This disease runs in families. There is increased risk of soft tissue sarcoma, breast cancer, brain cancers and leukemia in people with this syndrome.
- Inherited retinoblastoma:
It’s an inherited form of eye cancer in children which runs in families. Such patients have mutated retinoblastoma gene which put them at high risk for soft tissue sarcoma.
Radiotherapy treatment in cancer patients increases the risks of tumors. Soft tissue sarcoma is seen as a side effect in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer or lymphomas. But now the improvisation in treatment methods has reduced such chances up to some extent.
- Chemical exposure
We are exposed to chemicals and pollutants on daily basis but some of them have the tendency to cause cancers.
- Vinyl chloride
Vinyl chloride is used in making plastics. The exposure to vinyl chloride can cause liver sarcoma.
- Chlorphenols and dinoxins
Chlorphenols are used in pesticides and disinfectants. Chlorinated water may contain this chemical in some amounts. Dinoxins are used in bleaching agents. Chronic exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of soft tissue sarcoma, especially in factory workers.
Soft tissue sarcoma Signs and symptoms
- Lump or swelling.
- Sarcoma becomes painful when it presses any nerve or muscle.
- If the sarcoma is in gastrointestinal tract it may cause gastrointestinal bleeding, cramping and constipation.
- Black stool which contains blood.
- The most common sites soft tissue sarcomas are gastrointestinal tract and extremities like arms and legs.
When to seek medical attention for Soft tissue sarcoma
If you find any lump or swelling formed in your body, get alert and consult a doctor. Only the doctor will be able to tell whether it a sarcoma or not by doing proper examination and tests.
Soft tissue sarcoma Risk factors
- Low immunity. For example in HIV patients.
- Injury or trauma.
Soft tissue sarcoma Treatment
Soft tissues sarcoma can spread rapidly. To prevent their metastasis, surgery is done to remove cancerous tissue along with some healthy tissue surrounding it.
In this treatment high energy beams like X-rays and gamma rays are used to kill the tumor cell. Radiotherapy shrinks the size of tumor before doing surgery.
Chemotherapy is the killing of cancerous cells with the help of drugs and medicine. These drugs inhibit enzymes which promote the growth of tumor cells in the case of soft tissue sarcoma.