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Sarcoma Awareness Month with Mario Spencer

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“A sarcoma is a cancer that arises from transformed cells of mesenchymal (connective tissue) origin. Connective tissue is a broad term that includes bone, cartilage, fat, vascular, or hematopoietic tissues, and sarcomas can arise in any of these types of tissues. As a result, there are many subtypes of sarcoma, which are classified based on the specific tissue and type of cell from which the tumor originates. Sarcomas are primary connective tissue tumors, meaning that they arise in connective tissues. This is in contrast to secondary (or “metastatic”) connective tissue tumors, which occur when a cancer from elsewhere in the body (such as the lungs, breast tissue or prostate) spreads to the connective tissue. The word sarcoma is derived from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning “flesh”.

 In 2016, scientists reported the discovery of an osteosarcoma tumor in a 1.6-1.8 million-year-old fossil from the skeleton of now-extinct hominin species, making it the earliest-known case of human cancer. In the US, July is widely recognized as Sarcoma Awareness Month. The UK has a Sarcoma Awareness Week in July led by Sarcoma UK, the bone and soft-tissue cancer charity.”Wikipedia


How did Sarcoma Ja begin?

“Having gone through Osteosarcoma, I always hoped to find a way to assist other Sarcoma patients. During my time at UWI I took a Marketing course at Carimac where I was tasked with creating a campaign around a topic I would like to bring some attention to. Automatically I decided to do some more research about Sarcoma and found that there was a whole month dedicated to Sarcoma Awareness and fortunately, there was no history of it being recognized locally so I ran with it.”



What have you learned from your own experience surviving bone cancer?

“The whole cancer ordeal was a rough one that even after surviving is still teaching me to appreciate every second of every day. I literally wake up every morning thanking the Creator. I have a greater sense of gratitude for my life, my mother and my little brother. During that time, their presence alone would bring me comfort. My brother was the newborn, but my mother never left my bedside. That whole experience also taught me to make the most of my time on earth and do what brings me utmost joy and fulfillment.”


How could Jamaica’s health care system be improved?

“Overall, I don’t believe Jamaica’s health care system is bad. We have first world medical facilities and technology as well as some of the best doctors in the world. Where I believe it may be lacking is in affordability and availability.”



How can more be done locally during Sarcoma Awareness Month (July)?

“I believe there needs to be more local research on Sarcoma cases. After checking with the Jamaica Cancer Registry about 2 years ago, I realized that the most recent Sarcoma studies at the time was from the year 2007. Corporate entities could get on board and begin to recognize that even though Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer, it has become more common, especially among young adults. There needs to be more campaigns and fundraisers to try and facilitate more research.”


Who/which groups serve as your inspiration?

“There are 2 organizations I’ve been inspired by, they’re the Walk Strong Foundation and Surgix Jamaica.


Please feel free to contact Mario at:

Sarcoma Jamaica (Facebook)

Sarcoma Jamaica (Instagram)

Mario Spencr (Instagram)


Blessings in abundance!


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