Often times, when people hear the word “cancer”, sarcoma isn’t one that quickly comes to mind. Some may not even know what a sarcoma is–so it’s no surprise that it’s considered the “forgotten cancer.” To bring it to the forefront, July has been declared Sarcoma Awareness Month. Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to learn more about this rare disease.
What is Sarcoma?
Sarcomas can be broken into two main types: soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas. There are, however, more than 50 different subtypes that fall under these two categories.
Soft tissue sarcoma is a broad term for cancers that start in soft tissues – such as muscle, tendons, fat, lymph and blood vessels, and nerves. These soft tissue cancers can develop anywhere in the body but are found mostly in the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen.
Sarcomas account for 1% of all adult cancers and 15% of all childhood cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates about 13,000 soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day”–a day to encourage awareness of sun safety in hopes of reducing the rates of skin cancer caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. With a little planning, you can enjoy the summer sun and protect your skin–not just on this day, but every day.
The Importance of Sun Safety
Sunshine is enjoyable–but too much exposure to the sun can be dangerous. Overexposure to UV rays can result in more than a painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer.
It turns out there’s another bonus to marriage: early skin cancer detection and management. According to a recent study published in JAMA Dermatology, melanomas are more likely to be detected early in married people than people who are single, divorced or widowed.
How can being married help reduce my risks?
Data suggests that spouses or partners may help identify melanoma that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
It’s no secret that being carrying excess pounds can lead to serious health consequences–but did you know that it can also raise your risk for certain types of cancer? National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that in 2011–2014, nearly 70% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older were overweight or obese.
Research shows that higher amounts of body fat can increase the risk for several types of cancer, including liver cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, thyroid cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer (in women past menopause). Obesity also increases the risk for developing advanced prostate cancer, which is the most dangerous stage of the disease.
I recently turned 50 which meant it was time for my first colonoscopy. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths and generally when caught early, has a good cancer prognosis. Yet, 30% of adults age 50 and older have not had a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer! However, getting your first colonoscopy doesn’t have to be scary, and you can prep to make the procedure go as smoothly as possible.