Spindle cell sarcoma is a type of cancer which occurs on the connective tissues of the body. The name “spindle cell” comes from the shape the cells appear to have when viewed through a microscope. This type of cancer can occur on nearly any of the onnective tissues of the body, including the stomach, muscles, and lungs. Treatments may vary based on tumor size, progression of the disease, and the patient’s overall health at the time of diagnosis.
Like many cancers, spindle cell sarcoma often presents itself with a tumor. This may be found at a routine checkup or an exam regarding another illness, or symptoms may become apparent leading to an X-ray or sonogram. Symptoms will vary depending on where the cancer is found, although fatigue and a general feeling of malaise are common with most cancers. Upon diagnosis, which generally occurs once a biopsy has been completed, patients will be advised of their options.
Treatments may vary based on the stage of the sarcoma. In most cases the tumor will be removed, unless it is in an inoperable area. After surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of the two may be required to slow down or stop the growth of new cancer cells. Stage one cancer means that the cells have not moved outside an isolated area. This is the easiest stage of cancer to treat. Stage four means that the cells have migrated to various other locations of the body, and is the most difficult to treat.
Unfortunately, since most cases of spindle cell sarcoma are not caught in the earliest stages, the overall survival rate is less than five years from the date of cancer detection. Since symptoms are often varied and can be confused with other things, this cancer is often not caught until it has spread. For this reason, patients are encouraged to seek medical counsel as soon as they begin noticing unusual symptoms.
Spindle cell sarcoma is a relatively rare form of cancer, and fewer studies have been done on this form when compared to more common forms of cancer. Prevention methods include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding cigarettes and secondhand smoke, and having annual doctor’s visits to discuss any unusual symptoms. Patients are advised to discuss even seemingly mild symptoms because in the rare event that spindle cell sarcoma is present, this may help to catch it in its earliest form.