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Sarcoma Awareness Month 2020

Sarcoma Awareness

This month is Sarcoma Awareness Month- Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the muscle, bone, nerves, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and the fatty and fibrous tissues.

There are three main types of sarcoma: soft tissue sarcoma, bone sarcoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST), but there are around 100 different sub-types of sarcoma.

  • Bone sarcomas affect about 611 people in the UK each year – 1 in 9 sarcoma diagnoses are bone sarcoma, but not all bone cancers will be sarcomas.
  • Soft tissue sarcomas are the most common type of sarcoma, around 88% of sarcomas are a type of soft tissue sarcoma.

Soft tissue sarcomas include:

  • GIST is a common type of soft tissue sarcoma; it develops in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a long tube running through the body from the oesophagus (gullet) to the anus (back passage) and includes the stomach and intestines.
  • Gynaecological sarcomas (sometimes shortened to gynae sarcomas) occur in the female reproductive system: the uterus (womb), ovaries, vagina, vulva and fallopian tubes. You may also hear the term uterine sarcoma. They can affect women of any age.
  • Retroperitoneal sarcomas occur in the retroperitoneum. This is an area behind the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal space that covers the abdominal organs. The retroperitoneum is deep in the abdomen and pelvis, behind the abdominal lining, where organs such as the major blood vessels, kidneys, pancreas and bladder are located.

Sarcoma is very rare, and much more research needs to be done to fully understand how these cancers develop and how best to diagnose and treat them.

People can survive sarcoma if their cancer is diagnosed early, when treatments can be effective and before the sarcoma has spread to other parts of the body. It is vital that patients are referred to a specialist sarcoma team as early as possible.

Care Support

Around 15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK, which is about 5,300 people a year but the survival rates have been very gradually increasing over the last two decades in the UK. 

Almost eight in 10 people (78%) diagnosed with sarcoma in the UK will live up to a year, The average percentage of people living three years after being diagnosed with sarcoma in the UK is 64.5% and the five-year survival rate for sarcoma is 55%.​

Awareness of sarcoma is low in the UK. According to a YouGov poll conducted in April 2020, three quarters (75%) of people in the UK do not know or are not sure what sarcoma is, this is why Sarcoma Awareness Month is so important. To find out more, please visit https://sarcoma.org.uk/about-sarcoma/understanding-sarcoma-0

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