Sarcomas are a type of malignancy that come from the supporting elements and connective tissues of the body. Sarcomas may arise from bone, blood vessels, nerves, fat, muscles or tendons. Since there are so many types of connective tissue, there are an equally large number of specific types of sarcomas. In this case it is not clear as to the origin of the sarcoma and pathology was not able to identify the type, thus it was an undifferentiated (‘no name’) sarcoma.
For those of you that are not familiar with cancer, if it doesn’t have a name, it is generally not the best thing. I suppose this would apply to just about anything in our lives. If we run across something that we have never seen before and we can’t identify or name, we are not really sure what we are up against.
In simple terms, with every cancer that has a name, there is a specific chemotherapy ‘cocktail’ that is known to kill it effectively. These cocktails are also knows as protocols or I like to think of them as recipes. When the cancer you have does not have a name, they end up putting together a ‘best guess’ protocol that they think will most effectively kill it. In many cases, treating cancer will involve a group of people. In fact, some of the larger medical communities (hospitals) have tumor boards that collaborate on decisions. In Nick’s case, the cancer didn’t have a name so our options were surgery and radiation therapy.