Health. Do you know about sarcomas? Rare and difficult to treat cancers

Health.  Do you know about sarcomas?  Rare and difficult to treat cancers

Sarcomas are a heterogeneous family. There is in fact not “one” but “some” sarcomas. Sarcomas are tumors that originate in the body’s connective tissues, such as muscles, bones, tendons and cartilage.

Foam tissue sarcomas develop from supporting tissues, such as muscle, fat, cartilage, or nerve sheaths.

A complicated diagnosis

The disease is difficult to diagnose and treat, particularly because the first signs are not always clear. However, persistent pain, lump or mass should raise alarms.

Thus, in a video published on TikTok in November 2022, singer Cat Janice explained that a year earlier, she had discovered a “lump on her neck, which ended up growing without being painful”. It was while undergoing examinations that the diagnosis of sarcoma was made.

1% of all cancers

Sarcomas represent approximately 1% of all cancers in France, or 4,000 to 5,000 patients per year. Approximately 55% of sarcomas are located in the limbs, 45% in the deep regions of the trunk and abdomen and 5% in the head and neck.

The diagnosis is based on imaging examinations (MRI for limb tumors and CT scan for the abdominal area) and on micro-biopsy. And since there are more than 70 types of sarcomas, treatment will vary depending on the type, location, etc.

“In the event of localized illness without metastasessurgery is proposed,” note the University Hospitals of Geneva.

“If there is a high risk of relapse, additional treatment with radiotherapy or chemotherapy, generally before the operation, may be administered. If the disease is very advanced, different types of chemotherapy or targeted therapy can be considered. However, immunotherapies have not demonstrated effectiveness for this type of tumor. »

With optimal management, 75% of patients are still alive 5 years after diagnosis. “But it is crucial to consult a sarcoma specialist straight away,” warns the Institut Curie. Because many patients experience diagnostic wandering.

In addition, “if the surgery is poorly performed, it becomes difficult to correct the situation and the chances of survival without recurrence decrease. »

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