Angiosarcoma is a relatively rare form of cancer that occurs in blood vessels. Because of this, it can occur anywhere in the body. Most commonly it is seen in soft tissue such as the skin, liver, breasts, spleen, and upper arms.
Angiosarcoma is malignant and is considered to be fairly aggressive. Angiosarcoma are found equally in men and women and do not discriminate by race. They are also rarely seen in children. Angiosarcoma of the skin is the most common type and it usually occurs in the scalp and face.
There are many ways that angiosarcoma present in and on the body. Those that occur on the skin usually look like a skin ailment such as a rash, discoloration, bruise, or lesion. Unfortunately this often leads to a misdiagnosis. Doctors will treat what appears to be a skin ailment, but it will only get worse.
Tumors that develop near joints can limit the patient’s motion, leading to the detection of the angiosarcoma. Others that occur in bones can cause pathologic fractures. Some show as soft lumps. Angiosarcoma is known to occur in areas where a patient had radiation therapy in the past. A doctor should immediately check lumps or changes in the skin in those areas.
Other symptoms can include general pain and thickening of the breast wall, for those that occur in the breast. Deep angiosarcoma can go undetected until they have spread to other parts of the body. You can also read more about angiosarcoma treatments.
Types of Angiosarcoma
Since angiosarcoma can occur in many different areas of the body, there are many different types mainly classified by their location.
Epithelioid Angiosarcoma – This is a rare type of angiosarcoma that affects the endothelial cells. Endothelial cells are cells that line the inside of blood vessels.
Hepatic Angiosarcoma – This angiosarcoma forms in the blood vessels of the liver. It is a very aggressive cancer that is usually fatal. By the time it is discovered it is often too late for surgery.
Cardiac Angiosarcoma – Cardiac angiosarcoma is the most rare type of angiosarcoma. It is found in the heart. It is often fatal, although some doctors believe that a heart transplant can give the patient a longer life.
Cutaneous Angiosarcoma – This angiosarcoma occurs in the blood vessels of the skin. It often presents itself as other skin ailments so it is often misdiagnosed. However, it does not react to treatments and usually gets worse.
Primary and Secondary Angiosarcoma – When a patient is diagnosed with angiosarcoma that has never had cancer before, it is known as a primary angiosarcoma. If a patients has had cancer before and an angiosarcoma forms at the site of past radiation treatment, this is known as secondary angiosarcoma.