Doha 05 July, 2022: July is globally recognized as Sarcoma Awareness Month and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) experts are seeking to draw attention to the signs and symptoms of sarcoma, which in the early stages, can easily be confused with other conditions.
Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that can affect any part of the body but most commonly occurs in the bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, nerves, fat, and blood vessels in the arms or legs. There are around 100 different sub-types of sarcoma.
Dr. Mohamed Al Ateeq Al Dosari, Senior Consultant and Head of the Orthopedic Surgery Department at Hamad General Hospital said around one percent of cancers diagnosed globally are sarcomas.
“Every year thousands of people around the world are diagnosed with sarcoma with approximately 50 new cases being diagnosed in Qatar each year here at HMC. These cases are managed by a dedicated multidisciplinary team of expert doctors and nurses from specialties of orthopedics, medical oncology histopathology , diagnostic and interventional imaging radiology and radiation oncology, led by the Orthopedic Oncology team at both Hamad General Hospital and the Bone and Joint Center,” said Dr. Al Dosari, who is also Director of HMC’s Bone and Joint Center.
He said awareness is a very effective tool that can greatly improve a sarcoma patient’s health outcome. For this reason, it is extremely important for both the public and healthcare professionals to be aware of the disease’s early signs, including unusual symptoms, so they are able to seek treatment urgently.
“People can survive sarcoma if their cancer is diagnosed early when treatments can be effective and before the sarcoma has spread to other parts of the body. It is vital that patients be referred to a specialist sarcoma team as early as possible,” Dr. Al Dosari said.
Dr. Al Dosari said sarcomas are more commonly discovered in children and adolescents when they are going through growth spurts. Bone and soft tissue sarcoma affect adults as well in different age groups. The symptoms of bone sarcoma can sometimes be confused with a sports injury or with growing pains in children and young people.
The most common symptoms of bone and soft tissue sarcoma include bone pain, a mass or swelling, and restricted movement in a joint. Unfortunately, in its early stages, patients with sarcoma usually do not have any obvious symptoms, or they have vague symptoms that mimic other non-cancerous conditions such as lipoma, a cyst, or sports injuries.
Patients who are suspected to have bone sarcoma receive an urgent referral, within 48 hours, to HMC’s Bone and Joint Center. These cases are managed by a dedicated multidisciplinary team of expert doctors and nurses led by the Orthopedic Oncology team at both Hamad General Hospital and the Bone and Joint Center.