This year, approximately 11,410 people (6,290 males and 5,120 females) will be diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma in the United States. An estimated 4,390 adults and children (2,500 males and 1,890 females) are expected to die of the disease this year.
The five-year relative survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) for localized sarcomas is 83%. For sarcomas that have spread to regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 54%. For sarcomas that have spread to distant parts of the body, the five-year survival is16%. However, when the sarcoma is located in an arm or leg, the five-year survival rates are slightly higher for each stage.
How long a person lives with sarcoma depends on many factors, including the size of the tumor, where it is located, the type, the mitotic rate (how fast the tumor cells are growing and dividing), and whether it is superficial or deep (see Staging). If the sarcoma is diagnosed at an early stage and hasn’t spread from where it started, treatment is very effective and many people can be cured. On the other hand, if the sarcoma has spread to other parts of the body, treatment can usually control the tumor, but it is not often curable.
Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with sarcoma. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2013.