Sarcoidosis FAQ's

Sarcoidosis Frequently Asked Questions

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease.

Q. Sarcoid and Cancer - Is Sarcoidosis A Form Of Cancer?

A. Sarcoidosis is not a form of cancer. Sarcoidosis and cancer differ in the way cells develop. In cancer, cells multiply out of control and lack order. In sarcoidosis, cells act as if they are growing around an unseen invader eventually forming granulomas or lumps.

Despite these differences, there is a link between sarcoidosis and cancer. People with sarcoidosis may be at a slightly higher risk of developing cancer - particularly liver, lung and skin cancers & lymphomas. This elevated risk may be related to the chronic inflammation in an affected organ(see symptoms of sarcoidosis).

However, the overall risk is similar to what is seen in other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, inflammatory bowl disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some drugs used to treat sarcoidosis have been shown to increase the risk of cancer, but only when used in high doses for other conditions.

Q. Is Sarcoidosis Contagious?

A. Sarcoidosis is not a contagious disease - it is not 'passed on' or 'caught' from another person.

Q. Is Sarcoidosis A Genetic Disease?

A. Sarcoidosis has been found to occur in families - however a genetic predisposition to this disease is unproven. If a person has sarcoidosis there may be a slightly increased risk of another family member developing this disease.

Q. What Is The Cause Of Sarcoidosis?

A. The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown. Possible causes could be infection, a hypersensitivity response, a genetic predisposition or environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals.

As the cause is unknown current treatments are designed to treat the symptoms of sarcoidosis rather than cure this disease.

Q. Why Is Diagnosing Sarcoidosis Difficult?

A. Diagnosing sarcoidosis is difficult because:

  • the cause of sarcoidosis is unknown
  • some symptoms are similar to those of other conditions
  • people may have a mild form of sarcoidosis and not display any symptoms at all

Multiple tests and procedures are therefore used to diagnose sarcoidosis which provide a fairly accurate diagnosis. About 95% of people with sarcoidosis have the correct diagnosis.

Q. How Can I Prevent Myself From Getting Sarcoidosis?

A. As the cause of sarcoidosis is not known there is no known way to prevent this disease. Only general preventative advice can be given. A possible cause could be environmental factors, so it would be advisable to not smoke, and to stay away from substances such as dust and chemicals which can harm the lungs.

Q. What Is Sarcadosis & Sarcodosis?

A. There are no conditions called sarcadosis or sarcodosis. These terms may be misspellings when referring to sarcoidosis.

For a general overview of sarcoidosis, please visit our sarcoidosis home page