About Lauren’s Disease
What Is Synovial Sarcoma?
After a fight like no other, Lauren Kimsey lost her fight against synovial sarcoma on September 10, 2016, only a few months shy of her 40th birthday. Lauren’s fight began six years earlier, when a small lump appeared on her arm. The initial diagnosis was a pulled muscle from exercise. Lauren was very physically active, fit, and the picture of health. After months of physical therapy with no relief, it was discovered that Lauren had synovial sarcoma.
Synovial sarcoma is a rare soft tissue cancer with no known cure. The exact underlying cause of synovial sarcoma is poorly understood and it’s our family’s wish to help find the cause and cure. In honor of Lauren, The Lauren Marie Kimsey Foundation for Synovial Sarcoma Inc. was formed in order to do just that.
Causes of Synovial Sarcoma
A synovial sarcoma (also known as malignant synovioma) is a rare form of cancer which occurs primarily in the extremities of the arms or legs, often in close proximity to joint capsules and tendon sheaths. This is a form of soft tissue sarcomas, and it is one of the rarest forms of soft tissue cancer in the world.
The name “synovial sarcoma” was coined early in the 20th century, as some researchers thought that the microscopic similarity of some tumors to synovium, along with the cancer’s propensity to arise adjacent to joints, indicated a synovial origin. However, the actual cells that cause the tumor development are unknown and not necessarily synovial.
Primary synovial sarcomas are most common in the soft tissue near the large joints of the arm and leg. They have also been documented in most human tissues and organs, including the brain, prostate, and heart.
Very, very few people get this disease. The most common demographics for diagnosis are teens and young adults, from ages 15 to 35. Doctors, unfortunately, do not know much about this disease. The most common cause is familial genetics. However, you may be more likely to get a synovial sarcoma if you have:
- Been treated with radiation
- Been exposed to chemicals like thorium dioxide, vinyl chloride, or arsenic
- Had long-term swelling in your arms or legs
Symptoms of Synovial Sarcoma
Unfortunately, like in Lauren’s case, it may be hard to spot a synovial sarcoma early on. Many times, the pain associated with them is diagnosed as a pulled muscle or arthritis. However, as these lumps of cells grow, you may notice:
- A lump or swollen spot under the skin
- Pain around the hip, knee, ankle, or shoulder joints
- Difficulty moving swollen areas
How Can We Stop Synovial Sarcoma?
There is a lot of research being done to try and find a cure to synovial sarcoma. Scientists are developing new clinical trials that target tumor cells directly or boost the immune system to fight the cancer itself.
At The Lauren Marie Kimsey Foundation, we want to help ensure that these clinical trials keep happening and we one day find a cure to this disease.
If you would like to help The Lauren Marie Kimsey Foundation keep working towards a cure, please use our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!