Sarcoma – It’s Time to Raise the Profile

ESTIMATED READING TIME 4 MINUTES

Sarcoma Awareness Month Ribbon

Over five thousand people in the UK are diagnosed with sarcoma every year. Yet research has found as many as three-quarters of people in the UK have very little awareness of the condition.

Sarcoma is a rare cancer, and it can affect many different areas of the body, especially the legs, arms and torso.

Sarcoma Awareness Month aims to raise the profile of this cancer. Read on to find out about sarcoma and what you can do to reduce your risk.

What is Sarcoma?

Cancerous tumours develop when body cells grow rapidly and in an out-of-control way, forming a mass. Some lumps are benign, meaning they don’t spread. Cancerous tumours on the other hand are malignant, being able to spread to other areas of the body.

There are over one hundred types of sarcomas. They’re classified into two main categories, those affecting soft tissue and those found in the bones.

Two-thirds of all sarcomas develop in the arms or the legs, while 30% appear in the torso. Some sarcomas form in the stomach, intestines and reproductive system, others in the walls of blood vessels They can also be found in muscles, fat cells and nerves.

Sarcoma accounts for just over 1% of all cancers overall in the UK. It can affect anyone at any age.

What are the Symptoms of Sarcoma?

Sarcoma Awareness Month 2022

A key symptom of a sarcoma is a lump under the skin that rapidly increases in size or shape or becomes painful. The swelling may also be located deep within a muscle.

However, because a sarcoma can develop in many different areas of the body, symptoms will vary according to where it’s located. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and a feeling of fullness, night sweats and blood in your poo. Bone sarcomas can cause swelling or tenderness around a bone, often worse at night, or restricted movement in one of your joints.

How is Sarcoma Diagnosed?

Because sarcoma is so rare and the tumours can occur in so many different locations, they may be missed. In fact, they’re not diagnosed, on average, until the tumour is around 10cm in size.

The tumours are usually picked up on a CT scan, ultrasound or MRI scan. This will be followed by a biopsy. As with all cancers, early diagnosis is important.

How is Sarcoma Treated?

Some tumours may be removed by surgery; others are treated by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

What Causes Sarcoma?

Cancer occurs because of errors in cells’ DNA, meaning they receive faulty signals and instructions. Cells then don’t reproduce in the way they’re intended to, and they don’t die when they should. What causes the signalling to go awry is a complex combination of factors, and these will be different for everyone.

However, exposure to toxins including dioxins, chemicals emitted by industry and manufacturing processes ¹; some types of chemical herbicides; vinyl chloride, a gas used in plastic manufacturing; and previous radiation treatment for other cancers are connected with an increased risk of developing sarcoma. Some people appear to have an inherited tendency to develop this type of cancer.

One type of sarcoma, known as Kaposi’s sarcoma affects the skin and internal organs and is caused by the herpes virus.

Natural Support for a Healthy Body

Functional Medicine looks at your whole body, not simply the cancer, and understands that many imbalances in your body’s systems can affect cellular DNA signalling.

Nutritional deficiencies, ongoing stress, imbalanced blood sugar and insulin levels, chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and bacterial and viral infections can all add up to cell abnormalities.

Functional medicine recognises that everyone is different, with a unique lifestyle, health history and genetic inheritance. Your road back to health will be as unique as you are. Following a detailed consultation, nourishing food, packed with antioxidants to guard against DNA damage, and healthy lifestyle choices will be recommended to support you through your treatment and beyond. Nurturing your immune system will be a top priority, as well as decreasing your exposure to substances capable of damaging your cells. Functional tests can pinpoint any nutrient deficiencies.

Improving the health of your body’s cells means creating an environment where cancer is less likely to develop and thrive. The practice of integrative oncology brings together complementary therapies and orthodox medicine to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Jo Gamble has undertaken an Integrative Medicine Fellowship in integrative cancer care. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sarcoma, she will work with you to alleviate the side effects of conventional cancer treatment, as well improving your treatment outcome. Wherever you are in your journey, she can support and empower you to make healthy choices. Contact Jo today.

Did you know you can request a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call

Are you concerned about the health of your bowel? Why not book a free 15 minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.

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