Sarcoma in Young Adult Rationale
East Carolina University
As we know, there are various types of cancer. Sarcoma, in particular, is a group of uncommon cancers that form usually in the bone and soft tissues (Google, 2017). The cancer cells originate from one of the rarest types of cancers; Carcinoma (Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, 2018). Cancer is usually not common in young adults, but certain Sarcomas do occur most often in older teens and young adults (American Cancer Society, 2018). More than 60,000 young adults aged 20 to 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States and about 9,000 young adults die from cancer each year (American Cancer Society, 2018). It is often rare that a doctor will suspect cancer in a young adult patient. The risks for sarcoma are not well-understood but with future molecular studies, our understanding may very well increase (Burningham, Hashibe, Spector, & Schiffman, 2012).
Sarcoma constitutes less than 1% of all cancers, and 20.7% of patients are < 40 years of age (Pisters, Weiss, Maki, & Raut, 2016). There happens to be a male dominance according to Cancer Network. Men are 1.4 times more likely to die from cancer than women are (National Cancer Institute). Studies show that there is a large race distribution of sarcoma in the American population (86% Caucasian, 10% African American, 15 Asian American, and 3% other) (Pisters, Weiss, Maki, & Raut, 2016). Geographically, there is not strong data to support sarcoma bias (Pisters, Weiss, Maki, & Raut, 2016). UC Davis’ orthopedic oncologists and surgical oncologists report that they have found significant implications for the quality of care for their patients (Griffith, 2013). Only orthopedic and surgical oncologists have been trained in how to remove sarcomas from muscles and other soft tissue without leaving behind cancerous cells that could trigger another tumor (Griffith, 2013). Important risk factors to be aware of that can reduce the risk are; staying away from radiation, your diet and exercise, and lastly genetics. The key is early detection. Sarcoma is one of the rarest and deadliest cancers out there but can be prevented or cured if caught early.
Young adults must be educated promptly on the different treatment modalities available when diagnosed with Sarcoma. They should also be informed about the importance of knowing the signs or symptoms. Since cancer can have a silent occurrence, understanding that your only way of knowing that you may be a cancer host is by having a scan done (MRI, CT etc.) followed by a biopsy. It is recommended for every sarcoma patient to receive surgery, patient education, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy to reduce spreading to other places (National Cancer Institute, 2018). Clinical trials as well as support from the individuals’ family would also be beneficial to these young adults. Several social theoretic frameworks, such as social
cognitive theory, the health belief model, and the theory of planned behavior, have been proposed to explain and predict how patients make decisions about their health in relation to being diagnosed with cancer (Gansler, Henley, Stein, Nehl, Smigal, & Slaughter, 2005).
Here in the U.S., because soft tissue sarcoma is so rare, it is hard to figure out a region or area that is most prevalent for this illness. Researchers do not know what exactly causes most soft tissue sarcomas, but they have found some risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop these cancers (ACA, 2018). Scientists are beginning to understand how certain changes in DNA can cause normal cells to become cancer (ACS, 2018). DNA affects more than just the way we look, says the American Cancer Society. Most of the time, illness derive from either diet, age, or even socioeconomic status, but that is not the case for Sarcoma.
Globally, sarcoma is more prevalent in children however, the amount of deaths among all age groups are very high. Over a third of bone sarcomas and almost a fifth of soft tissue cancers are diagnosed in people under the age of 35 (Sarcoma Alliance, 2018).
Cancer, Sarcoma especially being that it is so rare and aggressive, is very expensive to diagnose and treat. Rare cancers like sarcoma require extra research, extensive care and a lot of money. From multiple tests/scans to hospital expenses to physician office visits, you will be charged for everything. Other areas that an individual may have to deal with would be: at-home needs (i.e. oxygen tank), a walker/wheelchair/cane for those who may be too weak to walk, even a mental state of sadness and depression. Dealing with an internal illness can be hard especially if you are not giving your body the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to fight. Also, staying away from and trying to keep radiation out of your environment can definitely decrease your chances of developing cancer.
Being educated on the different forms of cancer and how to prevent them will benefit anyone because we are all susceptible to these cancer cells. Little changes in our behavior (eating more vegetables, unprocessed foods, exercising, or staying out of tanning beds) can make a big difference. But the patient should not have to do it alone, these behavior changes would apply to everyone and be valuable to everyone in some shape or form.
The Brian A. Foundation is a program created to educate college students on campus’ worldwide about sarcoma and ways to prevent future diagnoses. I decided to have this program on college campus’ because they are our target audience. The campus visit will occur over two days (Saturday to Sunday). On the first day educators will give students information regarding sarcoma (facts and myths). Afterwards, students will have the chance to win a gift bag containing a t-shirt, keychain, water bottle and fit bit (to encourage exercise). Students will have the chance to win by playing a game of Sarcoma/Cancer Bingo. The second day will consist of a light breakfast provided the educators and a workshop to recruit advocates and give out pamphlets and information packets. Students will also be left with flyers that they will be asked to post around campus to help raise awareness.
Our mission is to educate as many students on college campus’ as possible. We hope that those students we do reach will share what they learn with others. Sarcoma is difficult to diagnose and treat in young adults (Chintamani, 2012). This is because it is such a rare form of cancer and there is not nearly as much research on sarcoma. Sarcoma may not be avoidable, but with the help of The Brian A. Foundation we will be able to provide preventive measures and guide students to be advocates for this destructive illness.
The Brian A. Foundation is designed to offer free information and tools that families can use to best protect themselves. College students will be educated and well prepped to inform others and eventually we will have reached a larger population that surpasses our target audience. Screenings are considered the best way to identify and stop the spreading of cancerous cells, so my program will make it our priority that communities understand how imperative this is to health.
Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA) hosts effective Patient Education Conferences during the fall months (September-October). This patient education conference program brings sarcoma patients, survivors, care givers and expert doctors to discuss the leading treatments and developments of sarcoma research (SFA, 2018). The Brian A. Foundation encompasses similar aspects to this successful program. Key stakeholders will realize that The Brian A. Foundation is a great investment. Those who volunteer and work with us will have a great understanding of Sarcoma. The Brian A. Foundation will do its best to protect human resources, abide by HIPAA regulations, and consider medical ethics in all aspects.
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