Sarcoma is a type of cancer that occurs in connective tissue (such as tendons), supportive tissue (such as bones), and soft tissue (such as muscle). Only about 1% of adults with cancer suffer from sarcoma, but 15% of children with cancer suffer from sarcoma.
When children are diagnosed with cancer, they have special needs. This means that the entire family is affected in a way that is not true for adults with cancer.
In order to support the special needs of children with sarcoma and their families, the Sarcoma Alliance has assembled resources specific to those needs, challenges, and opportunities.
Recommendations on the special aspects for the diagnosing and treating sarcoma in children.
Children’s hospitals and other pediatric care facilities where families can receive the quality treatment their child needs.
Information on sarcoma subtypes, how to contact sarcoma support groups, and how to find out about camps and other programs designed to meet the needs of children with cancer.
The majority of childhood sarcomas are one of three types. Although they are often called Pediatric Sarcoma because of their prevalence in children, they can occur in adults as well. As these cancers are relatively common among childhood cancers, there are relatively standard treatments.
Rhabdomyosarcomas are tumors in the skeletal (striated) muscle and are one of the most common types of soft tissue sarcoma. Rhabdomyosarcomas are often widely spread by the time a diagnosis is made. Treatment generally consists of surgery and combination chemotherapy (that is, more than one drug is used). For more information on rhabdomyosarcoma, visit:
View a video on Rhabdomysarcoma from the Mayo Clinic.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. It typically affects adolescents and young adults during periods of rapid bone growth. The knee is the most common site for osteosarcomas. Surgery is the primary treatment. For more information on osteosarcoma, visit:
Ewings Sarcoma is cancer that occurs principally in bone, most commonly affecting the long bones of the arm and leg, the pelvis, and the ribs. However, Ewings Sarcoma can also occur in soft tissues and as such is considered a “family” of cancers that include Peripheral Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET). It is more common in girls than boys and is rare among Africans and African-Americans. Multi-drug chemotherapy is the primary treatment in association with surgery and radiation. For more information on Ewings sarcoma, visit:
Other Sarcomas in Children
About one-quarter of children with sarcomas have a wide variety of soft tissue sarcomas, most of which are more commonly diagnosed in adults. Due to the diversity of sarcoma types, these can be particularly challenging to diagnose accurately and thus treat appropriately.
For more information on these other sarcomas in children, visit National Cancer Institute, Soft Tissue Sarcoma.