For a more detailed guide, please read our angiosarcoma information pack.
Also known as:
- Hemangiosarcoma – when it forms in blood vessels
- Lymphangiosarcoma – when it forms in lymph vessels
What is angiosarcoma?
Angiosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that originates in the cells lining blood vessels or lymphatic vessels. This cancer can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly affects the skin, breast, liver, and spleen.
The symptoms of angiosarcoma depend on its location in the body. Skin angiosarcomas often present as a purple or red patch or lump on the skin, while angiosarcomas in the breast, liver, or spleen can cause pain, swelling, or other symptoms related to the specific organ affected.
How rare is angiosarcoma?
The incidence of angiosarcomas is very low, accounting for less than 1% of all soft tissue sarcomas or 0.01 cases per 100,000 people.
Who does angiosarcoma affect?
Angiosarcomas can affect people of any age, but they are more common in adults, particularly those over the age of 65. Men are slightly more likely to develop angiosarcomas than women.
The exact cause of angiosarcoma is not known, but some factors may increase the risk of developing this type of cancer, including exposure to certain chemicals such as vinyl chloride, arsenic, and Thorotrast (a contrast medium once used in X-rays), previous radiation therapy, chronic lymphedema (swelling caused by damage to the lymphatic system, sometime a consequence of treatment for breast cancer), and genetic factors such as mutations in the MYC oncogene and TP53 tumour suppressor gene.
Why is RareCan interested in angiosarcoma?
RareCan is working to accelerate research into angiosarcoma by making it easier for researchers to connect with people who have it. You can help us do this by becoming a RareCan member and sharing information with us about your angiosarcoma diagnosis. We will then get in touch with you about any research opportunities that might be suitable for you.
If you are looking for further support with angiosarcoma we recommend the following websites:
Sarcoma UK is a charity for those with bone and soft tissue sarcoma diagnoses including angiosarcoma. They provide information on all types of sarcomas and have a patient support line to help assist with any queries and worries.