July is Sarcoma Awareness Month. Deemed a “forgotten cancer” because of its rarity, sarcomas are cancers that start in bone, muscle, connective tissue, blood vessels or fat, and can be found anywhere in the body. In general, there are two types of sarcoma: soft tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma with more than 50 different subtypes.
- An estimated 12,390 new cases of soft tissue sarcomas and 3,260 new cases of bone cancers will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 6,540 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
- The overall relative five-year survival rate for people with sarcoma is around 50%.
- When the sarcoma starts in an arm or leg, the five-year survival rates are slightly higher for each stage when compared with sarcoma that starts in other locations.
- Sarcomas are notorious for recurring and metastasizing — despite complete resections.
Between 1,500 and 1,700 children are diagnosed with a bone or soft tissue sarcoma in the U.S. each year. This makes up about 15% of cancers in children under the age of 20.
Here’s a list of five facts to know about sarcoma:
1 – Sarcomas are rare.
Sarcomas are rare in adults and make up approximately 1% of all adult cancer diagnoses. They are relatively more common among children. Between 1,500 and 1,700 children are diagnosed with a bone or soft tissue sarcoma in the U.S. each year. This makes up about 15% of cancers in children under the age of 20.
2 – Sarcoma can develop nearly anywhere in the body.
Common areas sarcoma tumors grow in include the legs, hands, arms, head, neck, chest, shoulders, abdomen and hips. About 50%-60% of soft tissue sarcomas occur in extremities (arms and legs).
3 – For most sarcomas, the cause is not known.