The term sarcoma comes from a Greek word meaning "fleshy growth." While sarcomas can develop in any part of the body, half of them develop in the arms or legs. The rest develop in the trunk, head and neck area, internal organs, or the retroperitoneum (the back of the abdominal cavity).
There are close to 10,000 new cases of sarcoma diagnosed in the United States each year, representing just one percent of all cancer cases. The majority of the cases (close to 8,000) are soft tissue sarcomas; the other 2,000 or so are bone cancers. Patients with a soft tissue sarcoma typically present with a painless, firm, soft tissue mass, while patients with osseous sarcomas present with pain.
The typical diagnostic delay varies from three to 12 months, depending on the anatomic location and size of the tumor and the expertise and experience of the initial medical team. Benign bone and soft tissue tumors and malignant tumors from other locations that spread to the skeleton represent another larger category of tumors that may be confused with sarcomas.
A sarcoma is a tumor that arises out of connective tissues, not glandular tissues. Sarcomas, therefore, are found in bone (osseous), cartilage, skeletal muscle, tendons, veins/arteries, nerves, skin, and fatty tissues.
Learn about the symptoms for sarcoma and how this disease is diagnosed.
Here's where you can learn more about the types and mulitple subtypes of sarcoma.
Sarcobase is a unique tumor registry for sarcoma patients who have been treated at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) or its parent organizations, Seattle Children's and UW Medical Center.