Sarcoma is very rare, and more research needs to be done to fully understand how these cancers develop and how best to diagnose and treat them.

There are two main types of Sarcoma: Bone Sarcoma and Soft tissue Sarcoma.

Bone sarcoma affects around 30 people in Ireland each year, making it a very rare form of cancer. Not all bone cancers will be sarcomas.

Soft tissue sarcomas can affect any part of the body; they develop in supporting or connective tissue such as the muscles, nerves, fatty tissue, and blood vessels. About 175 people are diagnosed with soft tissue sarcomas each year in Ireland and there are a number of different types.

Usually sarcomas do not cause any symptoms for a long time until they become larger and press on an organ, nerve or muscle. If you have any unusual lumps, always get them checked by your GP.

The symptoms of a sarcoma may include:

Any lump that:

  • Is increasing in size
  • Is painful and tender
  • Is deep in your body, and not just under your skin
  • Has come back after being surgically removed
  • A lung sarcoma might cause a cough and breathlessness
  • A sarcoma in your tummy might cause abdominal pain, vomiting and constipation
  • A sarcoma affecting your womb might cause vaginal bleeding and pain in your lower abdomen

Sarcoma can affect almost any part of the body. If you notice any of the above symptoms, get them checked out by your doctor. People can survive sarcoma if their cancer is diagnosed early, when treatments can be more effective and before the sarcoma has spread to other parts of the body.

If you notice any unusual change in how your body works, talk to your doctor. The chances are it will not be cancer. But getting it checked is not wasting anyone’s time. It could save your life.

More information about soft tissue sarcoma.