Sarcoma – the unknown cancer

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SARCOMA - THE UNKNOWN CANCER

AFTER A summer of healthy eating and exercise, Janice was on the road to better health when she noticed a small lump in her lower left abdomen. She assumed it was scar tissue from a past surgery, but decided to see her doctor six months later after it had grown to the size of a baseball. Shortly after undergoing surgery to remove what her doctors thought was a hernia, Janice found out she had cancer. Specifically, it was a malignant solitary fibrous tumour, a form of soft tissue sarcoma. Janice was 39-years-old when she was diagnosed.

“I had never heard of sarcoma before that day,” said Janice. “The word ‘cancer’ never came up as a possibility in any of my initial conversations with my doctors until I received the diagnosis. I was completely blindsided.”

Sarcoma remains an unknown cancer to many. In fact, it is often known as “the forgotten cancer.”

Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) is among the most distinct and complex types of cancer. It has more than 50 histological subtypes that arise from connective tissues of the body, including muscle, tendons, fat, lymph vessels, blood vessels, nerves and tissue around joints. The tumours form most often in the arms, legs, chest or abdomen, though they can be found anywhere in the body.

Sarcoma is considered a rare disease; it comprises approximately 1 per cent of all adult cancers diagnosed.

Given the rarity and complexity of this cancer, diagnosis can be especially challenging.

Due to her specific subtype of sarcoma, Janice’s doctors recommended radiation. After seven weeks of treatment and months of recovery, Janice has been in remission since May 2015.

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