Blood vessel cancer is essentially a form of soft tissue sarcoma, which is any cancer that shows its origins coming from the soft tissue of the body, in this case the blood vessels. Since the blood vessels are found throughout the body, this form of cancer, most often referred to as angiosarcoma, can develop almost anywhere, though it will commonly originate in the abdomen, arms or legs. While this form of cancer is probably one of the rarest, according to the Mayo Clinic, it does have some specific traits, symptoms and treatments, most of which will be similar, even though the points of origination will be different.
More often than not, the first sign of blood vessel cancer will be a lump developing under the skin. And since this form of cancer will commonly begin in the arms or legs, it will generally be seen or felt along these areas of the body. Beyond this, blood vessel cancer will rarely show any symptoms until the tumor has grown or the cancer has spread.
As the tumor grows with blood vessel cancer, or soft tissue sarcoma as it is commonly called, a person will usually experience some form of pain. This pain can be from dull to severe and is typically isolated to the area that is affected by the cancer. It is due to the tumor pressing on the nerves or the muscles where the cancer has formed. When the cancer originates in the abdominal region, some people will begin to suffer from a difficulty in breathing, a change in bowel movements, a change in appetite or even bleeding. Again, these symptoms will all relate to the originating area of the blood vessel cancer.
The treatment options for blood vessel cancer will be based on the area of origin (location), the size of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, the person's health and the person's age. It will commonly involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of two of these treatments.
As with most forms of cancer, the cause of blood vessel cancer is unknown, however, it is believed that an inherited propensity—as well as certain treatments for other conditions—may increase a person's chances of developing the form of cancer. Some people may also develop blood vessel cancer due to AIDS or HIV.
Due to the nature of blood vessel cancer, a fairly aggressive and invasive form of cancer, there is the potential for other areas of the body to become affected by the cancerous cells. This will generally lead to a change in the functioning of the organ, moving from normal to atypical.