Sarcomas, Soft Tissue: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many people are newly diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma?

In 2023, an estimated 13,400 people (7,400 men and boys and 6,000 women and girls) in the United States will be diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma.

It is estimated that 5,140 deaths (2,720 men and boys and 2,420 women and girls) from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023.

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 page 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.

What is the survival rate for soft-tissue sarcoma?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from sarcoma. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with sarcoma are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with sarcoma are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 5-year relative survival rate for sarcoma is over 65%.

The survival rates for sarcoma vary based on several factors. These include the stage and grade of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works. Other factors that can affect outcomes include the type of sarcoma and where it is located.

About 59% of sarcomas are found as a localized sarcoma. The 5-year relative survival rate for people with localized sarcoma is over 81%.

About 19% of sarcomas are found in a locally advanced stage. The 5-year relative survival rate for people with locally advanced sarcoma is 58%.

About 16% of sarcomas are found in a metastatic stage. The 5-year relative survival rate for people with metastatic sarcoma is 17%.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for sarcoma every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how sarcoma is diagnosed or treated from the last 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 website and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed March 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers a drawing of body parts often affected by soft-tissue sarcoma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.