• Madeleine Cowey

A Journey with Sarcoma


Kitties checking all their lumpsandbumps

Ciao tutti!

Long time no blog! I’ve been a really busy bee over the last couple of months, with my final exams in Rome and then travelling in Italy with my boyfriend (Read on to see pics of me and my scars in various Italian cities). I’m currently writing this on a train back to Rome from Sorano, a beautiful Tuscan village.

Alas, I am back on the blog (block), and looking forward to blogging more often over the summer!

Bloggy blog blog.

DID YOU KNOW that this week (02/06-08/06) was Sarcoma Awareness Week? (if you follow me on social media or are a family member you most definitely do.)

What is that? I hear you ask! - Well, it’s a week in which awareness is raised for Sarcoma, of course!

But WHAT IS SARCOMA?

The message that the charity, SarcomaUK, want to spread this year is simply that: SARCOMA IS CANCER.

Yes you heard that right. Sarcoma is cancer. And it is not as rare as they had previously thought, with new statistics indicating that over 5000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with it.

In 2016, I was one of them.

Most of the people I’ve told had never heard of Sarcoma before. I myself never realised how vast and complicated the Cancer world is, with over 200 different kinds, and each one for each person being unique. Sarcoma is no different, and within it there are many types. It can predominantly be split into two types: Soft Tissue sarcoma (me!) and Bone sarcoma. It is a cancer that can spread anywhere in your body, and begins as a lump that is often quite slow growing (compared to some other cancers), which is what can make it difficult to spot and diagnose.

According to the SarcomaUK website: 'Half of all sarcomas diagnosed in the UK are in people aged 55 or older.', but ASPS, which is my strain most commonly strikes younger people.

Sarcoma, like all other cancers can also quite easily spread to distant areas and organs, such as the bones, lungs (like me again! Those pesky lil tumours in my lungs wahey!), brain, even your skin!

Something I have always found both horrifying and interesting is the fact that a lot of people don’t find their sarcoma through the primary tumour. It is actually their metastatic cancer symptoms that brings them to seek help, and the primary tumour is found after the secondary. (e.g. someone may have a spread to the brain, and the cancer in the brain will be diagnosed before actually locating the original tumour!). Sarcoma is deceptive, and can often be deep so difficult to feel.

So How can I spot Sarcoma??

A growing lump of about 5cm or more tends to be the most important sign to look for. Mine felt kind of firm, almost cyst-like but definitely felt like it was deeper within the tissue. I first found it when it was pea-sized, and over a year later when it was removed it was 4x3cm big. At the moment, most people are diagnosed when it is about 10cm.

Aches and pains, or swelling, and/or limited mobility (sarcoma is common in arms/trunk/legs).

And other common cancer symptoms: unexpected weight-loss; loss of appetite; headaches or sickness; weakness or fainting etc.etc. Any symptoms that stick around for more than a few weeks should always be checked by a doctor and if you are worried it is better to check than to let it fester. It is probably nothing.

Message: Check your bodies. Not only your boobs and balls but all over. Mine was on my back and I probably wouldn’t have spotted it if it wasn’t for other people pointing it out! I didn’t go to the doctor’s for it until it was so big you could see it.

If you want to find out more, Cancer Research UK is an amazingly informative website.

I would also recommend these YouTube videos, made on sarcoma awareness:


Sophia Gall

Team Ellie.

Two inspirational young girls, one who is over one year in remission and the other who sadly passed away recently earlier this year, but made a massive contribution to the cancer community and was a refreshing face on social media all-round.

Message: Check your bodies. Not only your boobs and balls but all over. Mine was on my back and I probably wouldn’t have spotted it if it wasn’t for other people pointing it out! I didn’t go to the doctor’s for it until it was so big you could see it.

How you can Help the cause:

SarcomaUK is welcoming donations, as always, to fund vital research and help spread more awareness. With a cancer so rare and unknown, still often mistaken by doctors as something harmless and thus causing patients further harm, awareness and understanding is KEY.

They also encourage people to hold fundraisers, particularly the Big Picnic, which my spectacular little sister, age just 15, is hosting this afternoon (Sunday 8th July 2018) on our home street. She’s baked all the goods herself, all my family have been there to join in on the fun, and luckily the sun has stayed out in England for the occasion! I couldn’t be more proud and grateful of my wonderful family who are so supportive of me and of raising awareness for sarcoma, which is the one thing I am determined to achieve out of this whole ‘experience’. Hopefully my story can, will and has helped many others.

If you have any questions please leave a comment! (I hope the comment box works haha).

Thank you for reading. And please please please share this along. That is and always will be the best thing you can do to help me, and so many others, and is such a simple thing to do. :)

All my love, stay safe and CHECK YO’SELVES.

M x

#sarcoma #sarcomaawareness #awareness #cancer #cancerresearch #fundraising

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