Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cardiac Sarcoma

Hearts are STRONG!!
Today’s post is to bring attention to a type of cancer that does not hit a lot of people.  I can relate to this. I can’t tell you how many people said to me ‘tonsil cancer, I’ve never heard of it’ when I was fighting cancer.    Actually I’ve never heard of tonsil cancer before it hit me.  However, when you are going through it, you get an intimate understanding of what it is and want everyone else to know that too.  This cancer I’m writing about today is called Cardiac Sarcoma.  It affects barely ten thousand people in the USA per year.  I’d be curious to find the world wide numbers.   Today’s posting is inspired by a friend of Dana’s (my wife) from high school.  His name is Joe and he was diagnosed with Cardiac Sarcoma and is currently battling it.  Take a moment and say a prayer, send positive thoughts or do whatever you can to help out Joe.  I had a lot of prayers said for me during my battle with tonsil cancer and I’m sure that is one of the main reasons I got through it.

I’ve been researching Cardiac Sarcoma to find out more about it and this is what I came up with.  This post is by no means a medical document and should not be read that way.

What is it?  Cardiac Sarcoma is basically a tumor that grows on the heart.  This is a malignant tumor so you can image how important and urgent treatment is, once diagnosed.  According to many sources, including the actual definition is:

Cardiac sarcoma is a type of tumor that occurs in the heart. Cardiac sarcoma is a primary malignant (cancerous) tumor. Tumors are considered to be either primary tumors or secondary tumors. A primary tumor is the original site of tumor growth. A secondary tumor originates from another tumor elsewhere in the body

From what I read if the tumor started it the heart it is most likely cancer.  However there are some sarcomas that start in other soft tissues of the body, usually those are not malignant.  Even if they eventually travel to the heart.  The type that starts elsewhere is considered a secondary tumor once in the heart.

What are the symptoms?  Well this is always tricky, but depending on where the tumor is located by (or in) the heart you can have the following (and more):
  • Coughing Up Blood
  • Fever
  • Unexplained Weight Loss
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Always Tired
  • Irregular Heartbeats
  • Trouble Breathing
What is the Treatment?  Treatment seems to be the same treatment used for a lot of cancers including Surgery, Radiation and Chemotherapy.  The one treatment that is different is getting a heart transplant.  Treatments depend on a number of factors including how advanced the cancer is, your age,  expectations of the disease and your opinion.

Finishing Up:  Cancer sucks, plain and simple.  Heart issues suck.  When the two are put together ist seems like a terrifying combination.  However, the human spirit can overcome a lot.  Hang in there Joe and family.  You can take this cancer down.

Does anyone else know about Cardiac Sarcoma?  If so, tell me something I didn’t find by doing some research.  


  1. Thanks John! I can't believe these "rare" cancers hitting people. We need to find a cure! This is just unexceptable to me! Joe has a lot to fight for & I know his wife & son will be right along with him fighting the fight. I know that there are times that you as cancer "warriors" have moments when it is up to you to push on & that part is the hardest for those of us watching.

  2. You are right about these rare cancers. All cancers are hitting people on an increasing frequency!!