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Types of Sarcoma

written by: Vikas Vij • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/26/2010

Learn about the different types of sarcoma that can affect people in different age groups. Each sarcoma needs a different diagnosis and specialized treatment.

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    Sarcomas

    Sarcomas are an abnormal growth or malignant tumor that arises in the body’s connective tissue, such as fibrous tissue, joint tissue, bone, nerves, muscles or blood vessels. There can be several types of sarcoma that can affect various body parts of people in different age groups.

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    Bone

    One of the primary forms of bone cancer is osteosarcoma which originates from the cells that constitute the bone tissue. This cancer typically makes a beginning from the long bones of the limbs, and particularly affects teenagers and young adults. A rare form of bone cancer is Ewing’s Sarcoma, which originates in the under-developed nerve cells of the bone marrow. It mostly affects the areas around the chest, vertebrae and pelvis. Another type of bone tumor is chondrosarcoma. This is the second most common form of bone cancer after osteosarcoma. Nearly one-fourth of all primary bone cancers are of the chondrosarcoma type. It typically affects arms, legs or pelvis in adults in the age group of 50 to 70.

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    Muscle Tissue

    Muscle tissue sarcomas may occur in both the smooth as well as the skeletal muscles. One of the rare cancers found in the skeletal muscles is Rhabdomyosarcoma. This tumor may originate in the arms, legs, head and neck region, and even in the urinary and reproductive organs. This form of cancer affects children below the age of 10 in more than half the cases. One of the smooth muscle sarcomas is the Leiomyosarcoma. This primarily attacks adults and originates from the uterus, gastrointestinal tract or other blood vessel linings.

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    Blood and Lymph Vessels

    Hemangiosarcomas are the typical sarcomas of blood and lymph vessels. They can affect adults in the legs, head or trunk region. This type of sarcoma can also take another form which strikes little children below the age of four. It occurs in the same blood vessels as its adult form. Another form of this cancer is Kaposi’s sarcoma which occurs usually in patients suffering from immune deficiency causing diseases such as AIDS. Lymph vessel sarcomas typically grow in the arms area and may occur as an after-effect of radiation therapy in some cancer patients.

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    Soft Tissue

    Soft tissue sarcoma is among the rare types of sarcoma that are non-bone tumors. They can affect different body parts such as fat, muscles or the trunk extremities. In some cases, these sarcomas may even occur in the chest, pelvis or the abdomen. There are many different types of soft tissue sarcoma, but they are largely treated in the same way. Synovial sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma and fibrosarcoma are among the most common. As per the current data, there are more than 50 types of soft tissue sarcomas known to medical science till now.

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    References

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/oncology-rst/sarcomajump.html

    http://www.umgcc.org/bone_st_program/sarcoma-types.htm

    (Retrieved on Nov. 22, 2010)