Sarcoma Awareness Month is observed annually every July. If you are wondering what sarcoma is, it is a type of cancer that occurs in various locations of the body. ‘Sarcoma’ is the general term used to refer to a broad group of cancers that begin in the soft tissues and bones. Soft tissue sarcoma forms in the tissues that connect, support, and surround other body structures, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and the lining of your joints. There is not only one type of sarcoma but actually more than 70 types. Sarcoma treatment varies depending on the type of sarcoma, location, and other factors.
HISTORY OF SARCOMA AWARENESS MONTH
Sarcoma Awareness Month is held each year during July, and strives to raise awareness about what is considered to be the “forgotten cancer.” The truth is that little is known about sarcomas and efforts to encourage research and drug development are made more challenging due to a lack of awareness and understanding.
Unfortunately, it is not fully understood why some people develop sarcomas while the majority do not. However, researchers have been able to single out some indicators that may play a key role in causing sarcomas by identifying common characteristics in groups with unusually high occurrence rates. Although the causes of sarcomas are unknown, some known risk factors must be taken into account. One of the risk factors is exposure to phenoxyacetic acid in herbicides or chlorophenols in wood preservatives. An unusual percentage of patients with a rare blood vessel tumor have been exposed to vinyl chloride in their work. This substance is used in the manufacture of certain plastics. Another cause of sarcoma is high doses of radiation.
Scientists have focused on genetic alterations that may lead to the development of sarcomas. They have also found that there are a small number of families where more than one member in the same generation has developed a sarcoma. These cases of sarcomas within the same family may be related to a rare inherited genetic alteration. However, sarcomas are a completely random event in a family’s cancer history in the vast majority of cases.