Sarcoma, Soft Tissue: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2020

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with STS each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

This year, about 13,130 people (7,470 men and 5,660 women) will be diagnosed with STS in the United States.

An estimated 5,350 adults and children (2,870 males and 2,480 females) are expected to die of the disease this year.

Sarcomas are described as being localized, locally advanced, or metastatic when they are first found.

  • Localized means the tumor is only in 1 area of the body.

  • Locally advanced means the tumor involves or attaches to nearby tissues or organs. This often means it is not possible to remove the tumor because of its location, size, or the organs it involves.

  • Metastatic means the sarcoma has spread to parts of the body far away from where the sarcoma started.

This section includes information on how often sarcomas show up as localized, locally advanced, or metastatic. In addition, there is information on survival rates for each situation. This information applies for sarcomas in general and may not apply to a specific type of sarcoma. Talk with your health care team for more information regarding your specific diagnosis.

In general, cancer statistics often include the 5-year survival rate for a type of cancer. The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The overall 5-year survival rate for sarcoma is 65%.

  • About 60% of sarcomas are found as a localized sarcoma. The 5-year survival rate for people with localized sarcoma is 81%.

  • About 19% of sarcomas are found in a locally advanced stage. The 5-year survival rate for people with locally advanced sarcoma is 57%.

  • About 15% of sarcomas are found in a metastatic stage. The 5-year survival rate for people with metastatic sarcoma is 16%.

It is important to note that the length of time a person lives with a sarcoma depends on many factors, including the type of sarcoma, the size, where it is located, and how quickly the tumor cells are growing and dividing, called the grade. If the sarcoma is found at an early stage and has not spread from where it started, surgical treatment is often very effective and many people are cured. However, if the sarcoma has spread to other parts of the body, treatment can usually control the tumor, but it is often incurable. Learn more in the Stages and Grades section.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with STS are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2020, the ACS website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (all sources accessed January 2020).

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by STS. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.