Types of Sarcoma

Sarcomas are... may be defined in the following ways:

  • Angiosarcoma - a rare cancer that is malignant, invasive and rapidly growing. The cause of an angiosarcoma is unknown.
  • Hemangiosarcoma - defined by having blood vessels grow into and feed the tumor. If the tumor ruptures, the person can rapidly bleed to death.
  • Lymphangiosarcoma - develope from the lymphatic vessels. Any time a cancer is in the blood or lymphatic system, cancer cells are easily spread to other parts of the body.
  • Cutaneous Angiosarcomas - usually found in the skin or the soft tissue of elderly persons although they can be found in any organ in the body.
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans - a very rare malignant tumor that occurs in the second layer of skin, the dermis. These tumors are slow growing and are usually found on the torso. The tumor appears as a small bump but then rapidly grows. It will have dark red, pink or bluish discoloration.
  • Leiomyosarcoma - a cancer of the smooth muscle cells. This refers to the involuntary muscles, the ones that move without a person consciously thinking about it like the stomach, intestines, skin, uterus, and the muscle layer of blood vessels.

Angiosarcomas are also associated with persons who have experienced edema (swelling) of the extremities or who have had radiation treatments following radical mastectomies. Exposure to certain chemicals (Vinyl chloride, thorium dioxide or arsenic) has been linked to angiosarcomas in beauticians and industrial workers in the plastics industry. Prognosis for angiosarcomas is poor due to the high recurrence rate and metastases (spreading).

Dermatofibrosarcoma rotuberans tumors thicken and become prominent or projected above the surface of the skin. The tumor is classified as a cutaneous soft tissue sarcoma that can metastasize. If the tumor spreads deep into the muscle or bone, extensive reconstruction of the area may be required after the tumor is removed. The occurrence in blacks is almost double the occurrence in whites and more common in men than women.

Leiomyosarcoma can be found almost anywhere in the body since it spreads via blood vessels. This cancer is unpredictable. It can be dormant for years then recur. It is resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and is best treated by surgical excision. Anyone who has been diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma is urged to get treatment at a Sarcoma Center. The exact cause is not known for leiomyosarcomas, but studies indicate that genetic and environmental factors play an important part.

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