Synovial sarcoma is a relatively rare type of cancer. This cancerous condition attacks the soft tissue that connects, supports, and surrounds the bones and other organs of the body (muscles, fat, nerves and joint lining).
Synovial sarcoma is very rare. Based on medical records, only 1% of cancer patients worldwide are affected by this type of cancer. It generally occurs in the adolescent or young-adult age group, which is between the ages of 15 to 35 years.
Synovial sarcomas do not emerge suddenly, but develop over a long period of time. Although the majority of patients are adolescents and young adults, there are some children who develop the tumor.
The initial symptom of synovial sarcoma is usually a deep and painful lump that you feel whenever you are sitting. This lump can occur anywhere on the body, but generally occurs in the area of the legs, arms, or throat.
Synovial sarcoma is mostly suffered by males.
Causes of Synovial Sarcoma
The exact factors causing synovial sarcoma are still unknown. Doctors have not been able to prove a specific factor that causes a person to develop synovial sarcoma.
Cancer can occur when the cells in your body experience errors in DNA. This makes the cells develop very quickly and out of control. The accumulated abnormal cells form tumors and spread to other parts of the body.
There are certain risk groups with higher chances of getting synovial sarcoma. The risk factors include:
- Have had radiation treatment.
- Has long-term swelling in the hands or feet.
- Genetic factors, inherited by parents who have the same condition.
- Exposure to certain chemicals, such as arsenic, vinyl chloride, or thorium dioxide.
When to See a Doctor for Synovial Sarcoma?
Similar to other types of cancer, synovial sarcoma should be consulted with a cancer specialist doctor (oncologist). The symptoms of synovial sarcoma are similar to other types of sarcoma cancer. The doctor will prescribe a series of tests to find out what type of sarcoma cancer the patient has.
The tests may include:
- Imaging test.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET).
- Biopsy, surgery to remove part or all of the tumor for the purpose of laboratory tests.
- Core needle biopsy takes a sample of the tumor to be tested using a small tube.
- Surgical biopsy is performed through surgery to remove tumor cells for testing samples.
- Genetic tests to look for DNA faults present in synovial sarcoma tumors.
Symptoms of Synovial Sarcoma
Initially, people with synovial sarcoma may not feel any symptoms. New symptoms will be felt when the tumor grows and spreads to other areas of the body.
The main symptom is usually a lump or swelling in the affected area. The most commonly affected areas of the body include the tissues around the hips, knees, ankles or shoulders.
In some cases, these tumors get bigger and the lumps cause pain and difficulty moving. Pain can occur because the tumor presses on the nerves and may also lead to numbness.
A lump may also appear in the neck, head, or chest area.
Treatment for Synovial Sarcoma
There are several treatment options that can be prescribed by doctors to treat patients with synovial sarcoma. The treatment recommended by a doctor will be based on factors such as:
- The spread of the tumor.
- Location of tumor growth.
- Size, grade, and stage of the tumor
- The patient’s overall health condition and age
The first step to treating synovial sarcoma is through a surgical procedure. Surgery is performed to remove existing tumors.
After undergoing surgery, patients are usually required to undergo a series of other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This therapy helps reduce the size of tumors that grow on your hands and feet and prevent amputation.
In some cases, patients are required to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery.
The doctor may also recommend certain medications to be consumed after surgery and therapy. Some types of sarcoma tissue can be ‘defeated’ with certain types of medicines. This method can sometimes be safer and more effective than chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
It is also important for patients to have regular check-ups with the doctor after the tumor removal to ensure the tumor does not return.
Experts and researchers are currently trying to develop new treatment methods for synovial sarcoma patients by having them undergo clinical trials. The new treatment method directly targets tumor cells and triggers the immune system to fight cancer.
Treatment Cost for Synovial Sarcoma
The cost for Synovial Sarcoma treatment varies, depending on the where the tumor is, the size, and how far the tumor has spread.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of Synovial Sarcoma treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Synovial Sarcoma
People with risk factors of synovial sarcoma need to be more careful. One of the preventive measures that can be undertaken is by maintaining general good health, such as by exercising regularly and eating healthy.
For patients who have swelling or lumps in the hands and feet for a long time, immediately consult a doctor to find out if it is a tumor.
It is also recommended to avoid smoking or consuming too much alcohol.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma
There are several home remedies that synovial sarcoma patients can undertake, including:
- Regularly consume medicines prescribed by the doctor. Some synovial sarcoma patients are advised to take medication to prevent tumor growth.
- For patients who have undergone surgery of tumor removal, make regular visits or check ups to the doctor. This helps anticipate and possibly prevent the return of the tumor.