Sarcoma is one of the deadliest rare cancers, developing in the muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and the fatty and fibrous tissues. The numerous sarcoma subtypes fall into one of two main groups: bone sarcomas or soft tissue sarcomas.
It accounts for around 1% of all diagnosed adult cancers in the US and UK, though it’s more commonly diagnosed in children (15%), teens and young adults (11%).
Due to its rarity, our understanding of sarcoma is relatively limited compared to common cancers. This presents therapeutic challenges since the lack of broader awareness makes it more difficult to encourage research and drug development.
Five-year survival rates in the US range from ~81% for localised sarcoma to ~16% in patients with metastatic sarcoma. A part of the problem is that though surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can cure certain cases, around half are found to be resistant to all current therapies.
For this reason, July is dedicated to celebrating Sarcoma Awareness Month – to spread greater awareness about this ‘forgotten cancer’ and help raise essential funding for research and development of new treatments.
Dr Brian Van Tine of Washington University highlights the importance of symptom awareness, saying, “While often painless, if you find a mass in your body greater than a golf ball, it should be evaluated by a doctor and biopsied. If found early, sarcomas are curable.”
Recent advances in next-generation sequencing technology are an excellent example of where the landscape is heading. These steps have led to personalised treatments like molecularly-targeted therapy and immunotherapy, giving patients greater chances of living longer, healthier lives.
touchONCOLOGY supports Sarcoma Awareness Month and aims to deliver greater awareness about this rare and deadly form of cancer. Learn about sarcoma by visiting our library of video interviews, conference highlights, journal articles, and clinical trial updates.
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