What is a soft tissue sarcoma? It’s a certain type of cancer that will develop in specific tissues. Muscle tissues, nerves, blood vessels, and even a person’s body fat can develop this cancer. Soft tissue sarcomas may be found in any part of the body, but they are typically found most often in the limbs. It is not a common type of cancer.
Facts About Soft Tissue Sarcomas
1. 11,930. That’s the number of people who will be diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma in the US in the next 12 months.
2. Men are diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma more often than women at a 6 to 5 ratio.
3. About 4,800 people in the United States will die every year because of this cancer.
4. The five-year survival rate of people with localized sarcomas is 83%.
5. When a regional soft tissue sarcoma is diagnosed, the 5 year survival rate is 54%.
6. Soft tissue sarcomas that have metastasized to distant parts of the body, the 5 year survival rate is just 16%.
7. When the sarcoma starts in an arm or leg, the five-year survival rates are slightly higher for each stage. 50% of them will be diagnosed in a limp.
8. Just 10% of soft tissue sarcomas occur in the head or neck.
9. The reported international incidence rates range from 1.8 to 5 per 100,000 per year.
10. Soft tissue sarcomas occur more frequently in people who have certain inherited syndromes, such as Gardner syndrome or Tuberous sclerosis.
11. The incidence rates of soft tissue sarcomas in children in any given year: 5 per 1 million.
12. Sarcomas only make up 1% of all cancers.
13. Between 1,500 and 1,700 U.S. children are diagnosed with a bone or soft tissue sarcoma each year making up about 15% of pediatric cancers.
14. About 1 million people in the United States have been affected or will be at some point in their life because of a soft tissue sarcoma.
15. The chances of being diagnosed over the course of a lifetime: 1 in 8,500.
16. 94,000 person years are lost to childhood cancers like a soft tissue sarcoma every year.
17. Almost 20% of soft tissue cancers are diagnosed in people under the age of 35, compared to less than 4% of all cancers.
18. The median age of diagnosis for a soft tissue sarcoma: 58.
19. In the US, 1 in every 1,000 households will be affected by a pediatric sarcoma.
20. 1 in 150 families will know someone who has battled this cancer or have battled it themselves at some point in their lives.
There are about 50 different types of soft tissue sarcomas and just because a tumor develops doesn’t necessarily mean that the formation is malignant. Soft tissue sarcomas also qualify as an intermediate tumor, which means they have come characteristics of being benign and some characteristics of being malignant. Others, like a malignant mesenchymoma, will show features of at least 3 different types of sarcomas.
Is Cancer Really This Prevalent In Society Today?
The statistics for cancer in general are pretty scary. 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. For women, 1 in 8 will receive a breast cancer diagnosis. Although survival rates for specific cancers are generally getting better, more people are being diagnosed with some form of cancer during their life.
This means that although soft tissue sarcomas are rather rare, they are happening more often than ever before. They affect children much more often than they affect adults. This makes it incredibly important to make sure children make it to their scheduled well-child appointments.
Research in this area has been lacking simply because the overall incidence rates are relatively minor compared to other diseases. In the US, where the average family has two children, the chances that they will deal with a soft tissue sarcoma is about 1 in 4,000. For a four child family, those odds go up to 1 in 2,000. Those are still odds that are pretty easy to beat, but it also means that soft tissue sarcomas may be more common than many people realize.
Some types can take up to 15 years to progress. Others are fast and aggressive with tender, painful tumors. This is what makes diagnosing this cancer so difficult. It is also why the best proactive treatments are to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get regular checkups.