July marks the start of Sarcoma and Bone Cancer awareness month. Roughly 15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma daily; however, 75% of the public have no idea what sarcoma is—# SarcomaAwarenessMonth.
Nearly 14,000 people will be diagnosed with a form of soft tissue sarcoma. According to the American Cancer Society’s statistics, about 5,500 people are expected to die of soft tissue sarcoma. These statistics include both adults and children.
Sarcoma (SAR-co-ma) is a malignant tumor arising in tissue (such as connective tissue, bone, cartilage, or striated muscle) of mesodermal origin (Merriam-Webster).
Baylor College of Medicine refers to sarcoma as the “forgotten cancer,” there are generally two categories of sarcoma cancer: soft-tissue and bone sarcoma. While sarcoma is about 1% of all diagnoses, there are more than 50 different subtypes, making it difficult to discover and diagnose.
Below are the Five Facts to know about sarcoma list from the National Foundation for Cancer Research:
- Sarcomas are rare: about one percent of all adult cancer diagnoses are sarcoma, therefore it is rare for adults. However, about 1700 children in the United States are diagnosed with either a bone or a soft tissue in sarcoma each year.
- Sarcoma can develop nearly anywhere in the body. The most common areas sarcoma tumors grow are the legs, ands, arms, neck, chest, shoulders, abdomen, and hips. According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, 50-60% of soft tissue sarcomas show up in the arms and legs.
- The cause of sarcomas is mostly unknown. The Mayo Clinic states that sarcoma cancers can show up in various places in your body. A group of cancers begin in the bones and in the soft tissues. The soft tissue sarcoma forms in the tissues that connect, support, and surround other body structures, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and the lining of the joints. The list of the variety of sarcoma types are found at the link and scroll to the word “Types.”
- Sarcomas are difficult to detect and diagnose. Since sarcomas are rare and can take multiple forms in several locations, it is difficult to identify and often get misdiagnosed. The National Foundation for Cancer Research’s website state, that in sarcomas’ early stages, the soft tissue sarcomas rarely display any symptoms, only seen as a painless bump. As the tumor grows, you may start to feel some pain depending on the location of the tumor. Many people have a strong family history of soft tissue sarcomas. Talk to your doctor about genetic testing.
- Get a second opinion, if you had been recently diagnosed and here is why: Due to sarcomas being rare, many doctors have never seen or treated a patient with sarcoma. It is recommended to get a second opinion from a provider who specializes in sarcoma.
What you need to know about the survival rates. The American Cancer Society’s website states that a relative 5-year survival rate for a specific stage of soft tissue sarcoma is 80%, meaning that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 80% as likely as people who do not have cancer to live for a least 5 years after being diagnosed. Learn more about the 5-year relative survival rate at the link.
What Salish Cancer Center can do for You. We diagnose and treat many forms of cancer. From the more common cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, to rarer diseases, such as brain cancer and cancers of the oral cavity, our oncologists and care professionals are experienced and passionate about cancer treatment. Our integrative and individualized cancer care philosophy makes Salish Cancer Center a premier cancer diagnosis and treatment destination.
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Cancer-fighting Lifestyle – 5 Facts to Know about Sarcoma. NFCR. (2021, April 1). https://www.nfcr.org/blog/blog5-facts-know-sarcoma/.
Key Statistics for Soft Tissue Sarcomas. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). https://www.cancer.org/cancer/soft-tissue-sarcoma/about/key-statistics.html.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, December 5). Sarcoma. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sarcoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20351048#:~:text=Sarcoma%20is%20a%20type%20of,tissues%20(soft%20tissue%20sarcoma).
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Sarcoma. Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sarcoma.
Momentum, & Phifer, A. (2019, October 8). Understanding sarcoma, one of the rarest cancers. Baylor College of Medicine Blog Network. https://blogs.bcm.edu/2019/07/31/understanding-sarcoma-one-of-the-rarest-cancers/.