Browse site A – Z

Your views

Your Views

Your feedback is vital to us as we continue to increase the quality of our services.

Your views

You are here:

Date: 26 May 2024

Time: 13:49

What is sarcoma?

  • Sarcomas are tumours that arise from cells that make up connective tissue such as bone, cartilage, blood vessels, muscle, fatty tissue and nerves
  • They can develop at any site in the body and there are many different types of sarcoma
  • Sarcomas are rare cancers. On average, a GP can expect to see only one or two sarcomas in their entire career. There are around 3,800 new cases of sarcoma diagnosed each year in the UK
  • There are around 100 different sub-types of sarcoma but these can be broadly grouped into:
    • soft tissue sarcomas
      • 60% of soft tissue sarcomas arise in the arms or legs, 20% in the trunk, 5% in the head and neck, and 15 – 20% in the abdomen or internal organs
      • The commonest sarcoma arising from the bowel is a gastrointestinal stromal tumour
    • bone sarcomas
      • Bone sarcomas are commonest in children, teenagers and young adults
      • There are 12,000 people living with sarcoma in the UK
      • The signs and symptoms vary according to where they develop
      • The first sign is of a lump in an arm or leg
      • Worrying features that might indicate a sarcoma include size greater than 5cm, a lump that is increasing in size, and pain
  • The causes of most sarcomas are unknown, but are very occasionally hereditary
  • Despite the many different sub-types of sarcoma, the general pattern of treatment is similar
  • Surgery is commonly viewed as the best option
  • Chemotherapy may be used if the type of sarcoma is known to be responsive
  • There are circumstances when radiotherapy may offer benefits

Further information is available on the Sarcoma UK website.


External websites will open in a new browser window.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is not responsible for the contents or the reliability of external websites and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. Listing should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that links to other websites will work all of the time, and we have no control over the availability of external web pages.

We're improving the accessibility of our websites. If you can't access any content or if you would like to request information in another format, please view our accessibility statement.