Sarcoma is cancer that originates in supporting tissues including bones, muscles, fat, cartilage, and other connective tissues. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in any part of the body. Sarcomas that develop on the arms or legs account for 43 percent of all sarcomas, while 34 percent develop on the internal organs, and 10 percent on the chest or back. It is rare that a sarcoma will develop in the gastrointestinal tract.
Types of soft tissue sarcoma include fibrosarcoma, liposarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma. Types of bone sarcomas include osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma.
With sarcomas accounting for less that 1 percent of new cancer cases, sarcomas are very rare.
Causes & Symptoms of Sarcoma
Radiation is the most common risk factor for sarcomas.
Other known risk factors for Sarcomas include:
• chronic lymphedema
• certain inherited diseases such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome and von Willebrand disease
• people with HIV
• exposure to certain chemicals (ie: arsenic, phenoxy acetic acids, chlorophenols, vinyl chloride)
Lifestyle issue including smoking, consuming alcohol, exercise and diet are not contributing risk factors for sarcomas.
Soft tissue sarcomas can develop as a visible lump or mass. Generally, they cause no pain or swelling, and may not be noticeable until they become quite large. Soft tissue masses are common and can be caused by many things other than cancer, so it is important to visit your physician for a proper diagnosis.
Pain can be associated with some bone sarcomas, but this is not always the case.
Who Gets Sarcoma
Sarcomas can develop in both adults and children, with different types being more common in children, including Rhabdomyosarcoma, while others are more common in adults, including gastrointestinal sarcoma. People who were treated with radiotherapy for other types of cancers have a higher risk of developing soft tissue sarcomas. HIV patients also have a higher risk of developing sarcomas.
Prognosis if You Have Sarcoma
When all types of sarcoma are included, there is a 50 percent 5-year survival rate for patients. However, this number includes sarcomas with a less favorable survival rates such as Kaposi sarcoma.
5 Year Survival Rates for soft tissue sarcomas:
• Stage I — 83 percent
• Stage II and III — 54 percent
• Stage IV — 16 percent
Survival rates at the 10-year marker are only slightly worse which indicates that at the 5-year cancer-free mark, most sarcoma patients are cured.
Survival rates for sarcomas on the arms or legs has a more favorable outcome that when it develops in other areas of the body.
Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for Sarcoma include:
• Radiation therapy
• Targeted therapy
• Palliative therapy
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There have thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasisThe spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body. The new, metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are breast cancer cells, not lung cancer cells. (or the spreading of your cancer).
Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fatA type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease..
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's overactive responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Society