Cardiac sarcoma is an incredibly rare type of cancer. This cancer originates inside the tissues of the heart. It’s often a type of cancer called angiosarcoma. Angiosarcoma is cancer that develops in the cells that line the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels.
This cancer can be aggressive and may spread quickly to other areas of the body.
Symptoms of cardiac sarcoma can vary for each person, but some of the common symptoms of this cancer include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling to the lower extremities
- Coughing up blood
- Abnormal heart rhythm
The ultimate diagnosis of cardiac sarcoma will be made once a biopsy is obtained.
When someone presents to their healthcare provider with their concerning symptoms, imaging studies such as CT scans or ultrasounds may be ordered to evaluate for the presence of a mass or any other area of concern. A biopsy may be ordered once a suspicious mass is identified.
Further imaging can be ordered once a diagnosis is made to establish where the cancer is located. Once a diagnosis is made, the additional imaging allows the oncologist to determine the stage of cancer, which is how extensive cancer has grown.
The exact treatment for cardiac sarcoma will be determined once the diagnosis is made and the cancer stage is known.
Surgery may be recommended to treat cancer and to remove as much of the cancerous tumor as possible.
Some people will need to be treated with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a medication that is given to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy, where high beams of energy are directed at cancer cells, may also be given.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cardiac sarcoma, be sure to talk to your cancer team about the specifics of your cancer. They can help you understand your diagnosis and how best to treat it.