Sarcoma is known as the Forgotten Cancer because it is one of the rarest forms of cancer. Because of its high mortality rate at certain SEER stages, however, it should not be forgotten – or ignored. We have pulled together ten facts about sarcoma just in time for Sarcoma Awareness Month.
- The word sarcoma in a disease name means it is malignant.
- Sarcomas form in bone and soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, blood vessels, or deep skin tissue.
- About 13,460 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed this year.
- Approximately 5,350 people will die of soft tissue sarcomas in 2021.
- There are more than 50 types of soft tissue sarcomas.
- Some risk factors for developing soft tissue sarcoma include radiation treatment for other cancers, family cancer syndromes, a damaged lymph system (by lymph node removal or radiation), and chemical exposures (arsenic and vinyl chloride, for example).
- Most sarcoma diagnoses occur in people without known risk factors. While avoiding exposure to risk factors helps, it is not a guarantee that sarcoma will not develop.
- Approximately half of all soft tissue sarcoma starts in an arm or leg. Four out of 10 begin in the abdomen.
- Five-year survival rates for all stages of sarcoma are about 65 percent. Rates drop significantly based on how far cancer has spread. For localized sarcomas, 5-year survival rates are 81 percent; for regional sarcomas, the 5-year rate is 56 percent; and for distant (spread to far-reaching parts of the body), the 5-year rates are 15 percent.
- Survivors of soft tissue sarcoma can develop any kind of cancer after a diagnosis, but they are more at risk of developing the following kinds of second cancers:
- a second soft tissue sarcoma
- bone cancer
- stomach cancer
- thyroid cancer
- acute myeloid leukemia
Source: American Cancer Society