Personal Injury And Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Sarcoma awareness: Understanding causes, prevention, and treatment

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Cancer |

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, a time to focus on learning more about this potentially deadly group of cancers. Sarcomas are a fast-moving type of cancer that originate in the body’s connective tissues, such as bones, muscles, and tendons. The medical community divides this type of cancer into two primary categories: cancers that impact bone and those that impact soft tissues.

The most recent data from the National Foundation for Cancer Research estimates that medical professionals will diagnose over 13,500 soft tissue sarcomas and 3,900 bone sarcomas in 2024. But what happens when a diagnosis is missed? How do physicians find these deadly cancers in the first place? The following will answer these and other common questions about sarcoma cancer.

How do physicians diagnose sarcomas?

A medical professional will generally perform a physical exam to assess symptoms and identify any suspicious lumps or masses. They may also call for imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and CT (Computed Tomography) scans.

Finally, the physician may request a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

What causes sarcomas?

Some individuals inherit genetic mutations that predispose them to sarcoma. These mutations affect tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes, leading to abnormal cell growth. Past exposure to ionizing radiation can also increase the risk of sarcoma. This can result from medical treatments (such as radiation therapy for other cancers) or environmental factors.

How can I reduce the risk of developing sarcoma?

Certain chemicals and toxins may contribute to sarcoma, so it is wise to minimize exposure to these substances when possible. These can include radiation, as noted above, as well as herbicides and vinyl chloride.

Regular check-ups and self-examinations are also important. Any unexplained lumps, pain, or swelling should prompt further investigation. It is important for patients to be proactive in seeking medical attention for suspicious symptoms. If a medical team fails to take the concerns seriously, it may be wise to get a second opinion.

How do physicians treat this type of cancer?

A medical team may move forward with surgical removal of the tumor. This remains the primary treatment. Surgeons aim for complete excision of the mass while preserving function of the surrounding area.

Physicians may also use chemotherapy and radiation to target cancer cells throughout the body. This can be used before or after surgery.

What if my physician ignored my concerns and missed the diagnosis?

Patients may have legal remedies if their concerns about potential sarcoma are dismissed or misdiagnosed. A failure to diagnose sarcoma promptly due to negligence can constitute medical malpractice.

Those who believe their case involves misdiagnosis or inadequate care are wise to seek legal counsel experienced with this niche area of personal injury. An attorney can help gather evidence, build a case, and seek compensation to help cover the expenses resulting from additional medical bills and lost wages.