Cancer Trends - Soft tissue sarcomas

Publication date: 
December, 2014
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This report provides an overview of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) incidence, treatment and survival in Ireland. This is a group of rare cancers that develop from soft tissues such as muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, fat or deep skin tissues and can be found in any part of the body. An annual average of 176 STS were diagnosed in Irish patients between 1994 and 2012. Additionally, there were 20 cases of gastrointestinal stromal tumours or GIST (a type of sarcoma only recognised as a specific subtype in recent years and registered since 2005) diagnosed per year. Kaposi sarcoma, a type of cancer associated with immune deficiency disorders was more rare, with just 6 cases recorded per year. STS was grouped into 18 subtypes based on body site and histological profile and incidence and survival in Ireland was fairly similar to that reported at European level. The most common sites were limbs (20%), uterus (16%) and skin (10%) and one fifth of all cases were leiomoysarcomas. Surgical removal of the tumour was the primary treatment for many subtypes, particularly those in the limbs, breast, skin and genitourinary system. Almost all patients diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcomas (most commonly diagnosed in children under 15 years) had chemotherapy. Overall 38% of STS had radiotherapy. Five year survival was estimated at 56.5% and was slightly higher in males, reflecting comparatively poor survival rates for some female-specific subtypes. Of all 3,327 patients diagnosed since 1994, 1,545 were known to be still alive on 31/12/2014 and almost 500 of these patients had survived at least 10 years post diagnosis.

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