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World class sarcoma care in the West Midlands

What is Sarcoma?

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with sarcoma, you will likely have a lot of questions about what Sarcoma is, what happens next and what is happening right now. Sarcomas are rare cancers that develop in the supporting tissues of the body. Supporting tissues include bone, cartilage, tendons, fat and muscle.

Find out about Sarcoma Research here >

Types of Sarcoma

There are two main types of sarcoma:

Bone sarcomas

These are rare cancers that are diagnosed in approximately 550 people each year which is less than 1% of all cancer diagnosis in the UK. Bone sarcomas are also known as primary bone cancers. The cancer has originated from the bone tissue itself rather than spread to the bone from elsewhere in the body– this is called a secondary bone cancer or metastasis.

The prognosis of bone sarcoma differs according to the individual sarcoma, the age of the patient, the stage at which it is detected and its response to chemotherapy but overall, 62% of people diagnosed live for five years or more and 55% of people live for 10 years or more after treatment.

The treatment of primary bone sarcoma would usually involve chemotherapy (neo-adjuvant chemotherapy), followed by surgery and then a further course of chemotherapy (adjuvant chemotherapy). There may be a role for additional therapies such as radiotherapy or proton beam therapy but this is not the case for all types of bone sarcoma and is discussed and decided upon at the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings.

Soft tissue sarcomas

Approximately 3300 patients are diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma each year. Like bone sarcoma, these are rare cancers. They originate and grow from the soft tissue structures in the body which includes the muscle, tendons blood vessels and fatty tissues. There are over 100 different types of sarcoma depending on the tissue that the cancer originated in. Most frequently the tumour arises in the soft tissue structures of the limbs but they can also occur behind the lining of the abdominal organs (retroperitoneal sarcoma), in the female reproductive organs (gynaecological sarcomas) or in the lining of the bowel (gastrointestinal stromal tumour).

The prognosis of soft tissue sarcoma varies greatly according to the underlying sub-type of tumour and the stage at which it is detected. Broadly, looking at all types of sarcoma together, 60% of people will live for 10 years or more after treatment. If the cancer is detected at an earlier stage then the survival is greater.

The treatment of soft tissue sarcoma usually involves surgery to remove the tumour as well as radiotherapy treatment which may be given before or after the surgery. In exceptional cases some soft tissue sarcomas can be treated with chemotherapy. This again is discussed and decided upon at the weekly Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings.

Multi-disciplinary Team

Within the Birmingham Sarcoma Service network of hospitals, we undertake the diagnosis, staging and subsequent surgical and oncological management of all types of sarcomas in both adults and children. All patients are managed within a multi-disciplinary team framework and are discussed at a weekly team meeting with experts in the field of radiology, oncology and sarcoma surgery. The wider team consists of the Macmillan specialist nurses, nurse practitioners and support staff who all seek to facilitate the patient’s journey from diagnosis through to follow-up.

You can find more information in the ‘Information for Patients’ section of this website. You can also find out more about the team on the ‘Meet the Team’ page.

Useful websites and online resources

The below websites contain lots of resources which patients and their families may find useful:

Sarcoma UK

Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer and campaigns for better treatments. It is the only cancer charity in the UK focusing on all types of sarcoma.

Teenage Cancer Trust

Every day, seven young people aged 13-24 hear the words “you have cancer”. They will each need specialised nursing care and support to get them through the toughest times they may have faced. We’re the only UK charity meeting this vital need.

London Sarcoma Service

The London Sarcoma Service is one of the largest sarcoma services in Europe with an international reputation for providing the highest quality of care to patients with sarcoma.

Bone Cancer Research

The Bone Cancer Research Trust is a charity that offers hope to people impacted by primary bone cancer (bone sarcoma). It is uniquely placed to make a difference through research, information, awareness, and support.

For anyone affected by the disease, their high-quality information and support service means that no-one should have to face bone cancer alone.

Macmillan

Macmillan takes the time to understand you as a person, so that they can provide the support, tools and inspiration you need to find your best way through your diagnosis with cancer. We do it like this because we understand everyone’s cancer journey is unique.

Cancer Research Trust UK

Cancer Research Trust UK is the largest charity dedicated to saving lives through research.Its vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

young lives vs cancer

Formerly know as CLIC Sargent. Young Lives Vs Cancer fights to stop cancer destroying young lives. The charity provides grants and free accommodation close to hospital to help with spiralling costs. Its care teams are on hand to help families with everything from getting benefits to treatment closer to home.

Skeletal Cancer Action Trust

The Skeletal Cancer Trust (SCAT) is dedicated to the advancement of bone cancer research, to providing the best possible care and support at each stage of treatment and to improving the quality and dignity of life for all patients

The Birmingham Sarcoma Service 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.