Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) is a form of cancer that can affect adults and children. However, it is rare, affecting only about 1% of the population. It is possible to cure STS with early detection and medical treatment such as surgery.
STS is a term that broadly describes cancers that start in the soft tissue structures of the body, such as tendons, muscles, lymph vessels and nodes, and blood vessels.
While they can develop in any part of the body, they occur more in the legs, arms, abdomen, and chest.
Researchers have identified
In this article, we will discuss the prevalence of STS, who it affects, risk factors, survival rates, and symptoms.
STS is rare, accounting for about
A cancer statistics
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS)’s most recent estimate, about
This figure includes adults and children. It also estimates that around 5,140 people will die of STS in 2023.
Reports on the racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence of STS vary. For instance, an
However, in a more
The National Organization for Rare Disorders has categorized STS as a rare disorder. Determining the true frequency of this condition in the general population may be difficult because doctors may misdiagnose or underdiagnose it.
Research suggests STS
Other people at higher risk include:
- middle-aged and older adults
- people who have previously had radiotherapy
- people with certain genetic conditions, such as retinoblastoma and neurofibromatosis type 1
- people who have had exposure to chemicals such as dioxins and vinyl chloride
Risk factors for soft tissue sarcoma include:
- being born with disorders resulting from defects in genes
- having a damaged lymph system
- having a weakened immune system
Soft tissue sarcomas are often asymptomatic in the early stages but may cause symptoms as they spread and get bigger.
The symptoms also vary depending on the type and where they started. They may include:
- a lump near the lungs that can cause breathlessness and a cough
- a tumor in the abdomen, which may cause abdominal pain, constipation, and a feeling of fullness
- black, tarry stools
- blood in vomit or stools
- a lump that can grow anywhere in the body
- blockage in the bowels
- a tumor that presses on blood vessels, nerves, and nearby organs
The survival rate for STS depends on whether the cancer is localized or has spread to other parts of the body.
According to the ACS, the 5-year survival rate for localized soft tissue sarcoma is
For people with cancer that has spread to nearby structures and distant parts of the body, the 5-year survival rates are 56% and 15%, respectively.
Race and ethnicity are also factors to consider when discussing survival rates. An
The study indicated that the lower survival rate for this race could be because these people often have tumors of larger size and do not receive timely and frequent appropriate care.
Learn about racism and racial disparities in healthcare here.
Here are answers to some common questions people ask about STS.
What percentage of soft tissue tumors are cancerous?
Most soft tissue tumors are benign and not malignant.
The ratio of benign soft tissue tumors to malignant ones is about
Where is the most common site of soft tissue sarcoma?
Soft tissue sarcomas can occur in any part of the body, often depending on the type.
For instance, liposarcomas and leiomyosarcomas, which are among the most common types of STS,
STS is a rare type of cancer that affects the tissues that support, connect, and surround body organs and structures.
These sarcomas can develop in any part of the body but tend to occur more commonly in the hands, legs, and abdomen.
Studies have shown a low prevalence of this condition. However, it is possible that the prevalence rates are inaccurate, given the high chance of misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis.
It is often best to seek medical attention if a person notices any atypical body symptoms because early detection of cancer makes it possible for healthcare professionals to start treatment on time.