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Stick it to Sarcoma
May 15, 2016 - July 15, 2016
The Mission: to raise both awareness and funds to support research in the fight against soft-tissue sarcoma
What is soft-tissue sarcoma? (STS)
Soft-tissue sarcomas are a malignant form of cancer that develop in tissues that connect, support, or surround major structures or organs in the body. There are approximately 50 different types of soft-tissue sarcomas. While there is a various amount, soft tissue sarcomas are most common in the arms and legs. Among the rarest of cancers, soft-tissues sarcomas make up 1% of adult cancers. However, they are more prevalent in children in that they make up 15% of childhood cancers. Often referred to as “the forgotten cancer“ due to its rareness and the limited knowledge available on how to treat it, sarcoma often goes misdiagnosed until it’s too late and is extremely difficult to treat.
In 2013, D. Nguyen visited the doctor complaining of pain in the lower abdomen. She was dismissed after being told she had a urinary tract infection. 3 months later in a check up, they found that the pain she was experiencing was actually due to a fast-growing tumor that had been unfortunately overlooked. Diagnosed with an extremely rare form of soft-tissue sarcoma in the stomach, she was told, “You are case number 40.”
One percent… what happens when you are that one?
In just a few months the tumor had grown to the size of a football. Time was running out. Many doctors refused to perform surgery because it was too risky.
“I have a husband and two kids.”
Rejected by Fairfax Women’s Hospital and even the world-reknowned Johns Hopkins, she was told to enter hospice care with less than a few months to live- she was told to go home and wait to die.
What was once a tumor the size of a football grew to be a tumor the size of a 6-month old baby. Never giving up, our family and friends continued the search for a surgeon willing to operate. Miraculously through a simple forwarded email, an extremely gifted doctor from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, was found. He was willing to take on the risk and remove the tumor. Fast forward through multiple trips to New York, many, many surgeries, and endless chemotherapy, and Mrs. Nguyen is now a cancer survivor!
“It’s a miracle.” We often doubt they happen, but, every now and then, one will find that they do.
The battle is far from over.
While Mrs. Nguyen was lucky, others were not as fortunate. Because 50% of afflicted STS patients are lost due to recurrence, the development of effective, durable treatment is greatly needed. Always evolving, cancers are continuously adapting against current treatments as researchers race to find the cure for cancer. Current chemotherapy drugs cause patients to become weaker in that they destroy healthy cells as well. Researchers are therefore currently working on ways to improve drug delivery, create new chemotherapy drugs, and target only cancererous cells. In addition, future findings in immunotherapy hold great promise. Immunotherapy works to increase efficiency in cancer treatment by improving the body’s immune system to fight cancer. In this way, cancer is combatted by the power within.
How can I help?
With your generous donation, you can support sarcoma research to prevent future misdiagnoses like Mrs. Nguyen’s. With an increase in research, future surgeons can become more confident in treating sarcomas. We can thus prevent patients from being turned away while creating more tomorrows.
What will my donation go towards?
Donations will go towards funding research grants and clinical trials to explore and develop the latest treatment options available, such as immunotherapy and the creation of new chemotherapy drugs. Such research is often conducted in correlation with many other cancers. In this way, the amount of lives to be saved is endless.
Let’s make sarcoma unforgotten. Any form of donation is greatly appreciated. Please join me and #StickItToSarcoma!
All proceeds go towards the Sarcoma Foundation of America: “The mission of the Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA) is to advocate for sarcoma patients by funding research and by increasing awareness about the disease. The organization raises money to privately fund grants for sarcoma researchers and conducts education and advocacy efforts on behalf of sarcoma patients.”