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Sarcoma Awareness Month

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month. We answer some common questions about sarcomas and highlight where you can find information and support.

What is sarcoma?

More questions about sarcomas

  • What are the different types of soft tissue sarcoma?

    There are many types of soft tissue sarcoma, including rhabdomyosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) and Kaposi's sarcoma. We have more information about types of soft tissue sarcomas.

  • What are the causes of soft tissue sarcomas?

    The causes of soft tissue sarcomas are not known. There are certain things that can affect the chances of developing a soft tissue sarcoma. These are called risk factors. 

    Having risk factors does not mean you will get sarcoma, and people without risk factors can still develop it. We have more information about the risk factors and causes of soft tissue sarcoma.

  • What are the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?

    The symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma depend on the part of the body that is affected. The main symptom is a lump or swelling. For example, a lump in the leg or arm, or other part of the body, that is: 

    • getting bigger 
    • bigger than 5cm (2in) – about the size of a golf ball 
    • painful or tender. 

    Most soft tissue lumps are not cancer. But if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get them checked by your GP. 

    We have more information about symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma

  • How are soft tissue sarcomas diagnosed?

    If you have symptoms of sarcoma, your GP will examine you. They may arrange for you to have some tests. Usually, these are an ultrasound scan and a biopsy. A biopsy is when the doctor takes a sample of tissue or cells from the lump to check under the microscope for cancer cells.  

    We have more information about diagnosing soft tissue sarcoma.

  • What are the different types of bone sarcoma?

    There are different types of bone cancer. The most common types are: 

    There are also rarer types of bone cancer.

  • What causes bone sarcoma?

    The exact causes of bone sarcoma (primary bone cancer) are not known. For most people with bone cancer, it is not clear why it has developed.  

    There are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of developing primary bone cancer. We have more information about risk factors and causes of bone cancer.

  • What are the symptoms of bone sarcoma?

    A tumour in a bone can cause symptoms which include pain, tenderness or swelling in the area affected. This may be made worse by exercise and feels worse at night. You may also have reduced movement if the tumour is near a joint. If the affected bone is in the leg, it may cause a limp 

    Many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions that are much more common than bone cancer. But always see your GP if you have an unexplained pain in area of your bones, that does not go away. They should refer you to a bone specialist (orthopaedic doctor) to find out cause. 

    We have more information about possible symptoms of bone cancer.

  • How are bone sarcomas diagnosed?

    You may have an x-ray of the affected bone. You may also have an MRI scan and bone biopsy.  

    We have more information about diagnosing bone cancer that explains more about these and other tests for bone cancer.

Information resources about sarcomas

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Emotional support

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Practical support

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Financial support

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Help with work

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Support groups

How you can help this sarcoma awareness month