Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) August 01, 2014
Did you know that July was Sarcoma Awareness Month? The goal of Sarcoma Awareness Month is to raise awareness across the country and to educate people on the symptoms of, and treatment options for, sarcoma. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 5,000 Americans are expected to die of the disease in 2014, while 12,000 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed.
“A lot of people aren’t as familiar with sarcoma tumors as they are other kinds of cancer,” said Dr. Chawla, a physician at the Sarcoma Oncology Center in Santa Monica. “But the reality is that these soft tissue and bone cancers are just as dangerous as other types of cancer. It is extremely important that people know what sarcomas are.”
What Are Sarcomas?
A sarcoma is a type of tumor that typically occurs in the connective tissues of the body that surround, protect or support the body’s organs and structure, including muscles, joints, bones, nerves, blood vessels, fat and tendons. Unlike most other types of cancer, sarcomas are relatively rare in the elderly and more common in children and young adults.
Sarcomas can occur anywhere in the body, but they happen most commonly in the limbs.
The most common symptoms of a sarcoma tumor include a lump or swelling on the body and pain where the tumor presses on a nerve. Sarcomas are often mistaken for lipomas, which are a type of benign fatty tumor that can have similar symptoms as a sarcoma. While most patients who develop a lump do not have a sarcoma, it is still important to get it checked out to be certain.
What Causes Sarcomas?
While the cause of sarcomas is not fully understood, a number of risk factors have been identified. These include:
● Exposure to ionizing radiation
● Exposure to chemicals such as arsenic, certain herbicides, and vinyl chloride
● A family history of sarcomas
● The presence of certain diseases, such as Gardner’s syndrome and neurofibromatosis
● Exposure to Agent Orange
Sarcoma Cancer Treatment
The Sarcoma Oncology Center collaborates with prominent surgeons, pathologists and radiation oncologists from institutions such as UCLA, USC, Stanford, M.D. Anderson, St. John’s and Cedars Sinai to develop and implement the most effective multi-modality treatment plan for each case. The Center develops a treatment plan based on the grade and stage of the tumor, prior treatments received (if any), progress of the cancer and other individualized factors. The oncologists at the Sarcoma Oncology Center pioneer and provide the most cutting edge sarcoma clinical research trials in the world.
Chemotherapy is the most important treatment available for sarcomas because it is the only form of treatment that prevents and controls the spread of the cancer into the lungs and other parts of the body.
“Although chemotherapy was once extremely toxic, the side effects are significantly lower than they once were thanks to revolutionary forms of treatment,” explained Dr. Chawla. Dr. Chawla has pioneered research for new and effective treatments that protect the heart and kidney, substantially reduce infections and the need for blood transfusions, and virtually eliminate nausea and vomiting for most patients.
“The administration of chemotherapy is an art and a science,” states Dr. Chawla. Effective treatment plans effectively combat cancer, prevent recurrence, minimize side effects and allow for the highest quality of life for patients. Over 50% of Dr. Chawla’s patients can work during chemotherapy and maintain their daily routine activities and exercise through their treatment.
Surgery can be a particularly effective option after initial chemotherapy to shrink sarcoma tumors. With the advent of new adjuvant chemotherapy, improved technique in surgery and the availability of internal prostheses, amputation is now avoided in approximately 95% of sarcoma cases. Radiation is another effective tool used to combat sarcomas in specific, localized areas. Radiation works by sterilizing the tumor cells and making them unable to divide and continue to grow.
Physicians at the Sarcoma Oncology Center specialize in new and cutting-edge sarcoma treatments. That’s why patients travel to them from all around the world.
About Dr. Chawla
Dr. Sant P. Chawla is a physician with board certification both Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He is a world-renowned expert in the treatment of sarcoma cancers and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Chawla has been the principal investigator in the world’s leading sarcoma clinical research trials, which have been approved by the FDA and other international regulatory authorities. Dr. Chawla currently serves on the clinical faculty at UCLA, USC, John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John’s Hospital, Cedars Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford University and the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Chawla also heads the Sarcoma Oncology Center in Santa Monica, CA where he leads clinical cancer research efforts and provides ground-breaking cancer treatment.
To learn more about the Sarcoma Oncology Center, visit sarcomaoncology.com.