What is sarcoma?

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What is sarcoma?

Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of your body.  A key symptom of sarcoma is a lump that gets bigger quickly.

Most people get diagnosed when their sarcoma is about the size of a large tin of baked beans.

There are many different types of sarcoma. All subtypes of sarcoma can be grouped into soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas.

Sarcomas commonly affect the arms, legs and torso. Sarcomas can also appear in the stomach and intestines as well as behind the abdomen and internal reproductive organs.

You may still have some questions.  If you do, contact our Support Line.

How common is sarcoma?

About 15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK. That’s about 5,300 people a year.

3 people in every 200 people with cancer in the UK have sarcoma.

What causes sarcoma?

We don’t fully understand why sarcomas happen. More research needs to be done to fully understand how these cancers develop and spread and how best to diagnose and treat them.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of sarcoma are:

  • A lump which is growing, changing, or bigger than a golf ball
  • Swelling, tenderness or pain in or around the bone which may come and go and may be worse at night
  • Stomach pain, feeling sick, loss of appetite or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food
  • Blood in either your poo or vomit

It is important to remember most lumps and pains are not sarcomas, and this list doesn’t cover everything.

Can sarcoma be treated?

Yes. It depends on the type of sarcoma, but many people can have tumours removed with surgery. For other types of sarcoma, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are options.

Can sarcoma come back?

It’s possible. Sarcomas can come back in the same place in the body, and sometimes the disease can spread to another area of the body.

Read more about what can happen if sarcoma comes back.

What support is available?

If you are diagnosed with sarcoma, or if you are supporting someone with sarcoma, Sarcoma UK is here to help you. You can call, text or email our friendly experts on the Sarcoma UK Support Line.

There are support groups all around the UK and online. These are usually run by people like you, who have experience of life with sarcoma.


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