Sarcoma is a general term used to describe a broad group of rare malignancies that develop in the body’s bone and connective tissue, such as fat, muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and the tissue that surrounds bones and joints.1 It is frequently referred to as the “forgotten cancer” because it comprises a very small percentage of all adult cancers.2 July is Sarcoma and Bone Cancer Awareness Month, which gives healthcare providers and other members of the cancer care team an opportunity to learn more about these types of cancer. The following provides helpful information for raising awareness, initiating conversations with colleagues, and offering guidance and resources to patients.
- Sarcoma accounts for approximately 1% of adult cancers in the United States, and approximately 15% to 20% of pediatric cancers.3
- Although there are more than 50 different subtypes of sarcomas, they are typically grouped into 2 main categories: soft-tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas.2 Soft-tissue sarcomas comprise approximately 80% of all sarcomas, whereas bone sarcomas comprise the remaining 20% of cases.4
- Approximately 17,000 cases of sarcomas are diagnosed in the United States each year (approximately 4000 bone sarcomas and approximately 13,000 soft-tissue sarcomas).3
- The Sarcoma Foundation of America, the largest funder of private research in the sarcoma community and an organization dedicated to raising sarcoma awareness, offers extensive information and other resources to educate patients and providers and help them spread the word about the disease, including a Sarcoma Awareness Month Social Media Kit available at www.curesarcoma.org/sarcoma-awareness-month/sam-social-media-kit/.
The Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and support of research for the prevention, treatment, and cure of sarcomas. SARC investigators meet as a group twice per year to discuss the latest developments in sarcoma research and to give providers and researchers the opportunity to network with colleagues. In the spring, they meet during the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, and in the fall, they meet at the Connective Tissue Oncology Society Annual Meeting.
SARC has also launched a monthly podcast called SARC Talk. Hosted by the organization’s Chief Medical Officer, Scott Okuno, MD, this podcast explores all things related to sarcoma, including interviews with sarcoma researchers, discussions of innovative scientific initiatives in the field of sarcoma, and updates on the activities of SARC. You can find these podcasts as well as other educational media on SARC’s Media Resources page at https://sarctrials.org/education/media-resources/.
- Cleveland Clinic. Sarcoma. Updated May 27, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17934-sarcoma. Accessed June 12, 2023.
- Blanton N. Understanding sarcoma, one of the rarest cancers. July 31, 2019. https://blogs.bcm.edu/2019/07/31/understanding-sarcoma-one-of-the-rarest-cancers/. Accessed June 22, 2023.
- The Sarcoma Foundation of America. 2022 estimates for sarcomas in the United States. www.curesarcoma.org/wp-content/uploads/Sarcoma-Statistics-2022.pdf. Accessed June 22, 2023.
- Hardie M. Sarcoma - what it is and how it’s treated. July 25, 2022. https://surgery.wustl.edu/sarcoma-what-it-is-and-how-its-treated/. Accessed June 23, 2023.