If soft tissue sarcoma is likely to be the cause of your symptoms, you may be referred to oncologist to receive a diagnosis. Getting prepared for the visit can optimize the therapy and help make the visit more fruitful. List out all the symptoms. Write down your key medical information.
Write down the names of all your medications, vitamins or supplements. Ask a friend or a family member to accompany you during the visit. Make a list of the questions to ask your doctor.
Is the surgeon experienced in this specific type of cancer operation?
What your does doctor want to know?
A clear talk with your doctor can optimize the therapy and improve the outcomes. Prepare yourself to answer some essential questions from your doctor.
Your doctor might ask you typical questions like:
When did you first notice your signs and symptoms?
Are you experiencing pain?
Does any factor improve or worsen your symptoms?
Do you have any family history of cancer?
If so, do you know what type of cancer?
Your doctor is likely to perform following tests for diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma:
Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) may be recommended to look for the area where sarcoma is suspected of developing.
Biopsy: A sample of tissue from the affected area is removed and analyzed in the laboratory. The biopsy sample is usually obtained by using long, thin needle. A biopsy sample may be collected while your doctor is performing surgery.
The biopsy sample is then analyzed by the pathologist (the specialist who identifies the disease by studying body tissues) to diagnose soft tissue sarcoma.
The selection of treatment for your soft tissue sarcoma depends on upon the size, type and location of your cancer.
Soft tissue sarcomas along with some healthy neighboring tissues may be are removed surgically. Arm or leg, if affected by sarcoma, may need to be cut off.
However, your doctors will put all their efforts to prevent amputation. For instance, reducing the size of the tumor by chemotherapy and radiation may help to avoid amputation.
The sarcoma that has spread to other parts of the body may be taken out by surgical means.
It uses ionizing radiations like X-rays to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy, when given prior to surgery, reduces tumor size and facilitates surgery.
Radiation given after surgery helps to kill cancer cells that might have survived the surgery.
The chemicals used in chemotherapy kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given either orally (pills) or intravenously (injections).
Out of different types of soft tissue carcinoma, some forms of carcinoma may be susceptible to chemotherapy. For example, rhabdomyosarcoma is responsive to chemotherapy.
Targeted drug therapy
Targeted drugs, as the name suggests, target specific abnormality in sarcoma cell, unlike the chemotherapy drugs.
Targeted drugs that may be used for the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor are imatinib, sunitinib, regorafenib, and pazopanib. Many new targeted drugs are being studied.
6 Lifestyle and Coping
Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with soft tissue sarcoma.
Being diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma can be a devastating and life-changing event.
Following measures may help you to deal with the stress and anxiety:
Learn about soft tissue sarcoma: Keep yourself updated on Soft tissue sarcoma. Knowing more about sarcoma can boost your confidence and help to make appropriate decisions for your treatment.
Stay close to family and friends: Talk to people who are ready to listen and help you.
Join support groups: Join a support group in your community or online. Being with people who are similar to you may give you a better insight of life and help you maintain a positive outlook towards your condition.
7 Risks and Complications
There are several risks associated with soft tissue sarcoma, which include:
Inherited syndromes: You are more likely to develop soft tissue sarcoma if you have certain hereditary syndromes, such as hereditary retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Werner syndrome.
Chemical exposure: Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as herbicides, arsenic, and dioxin, is associated with higher risk of developing soft tissue carcinomas.
Radiation exposure: If you have previously undergone radiation therapy for other cancers, you are at an increased risk of having soft tissue sarcoma.
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