Important information

A person with a suspected sarcoma should be referred to a specialist who has experience treating sarcoma and is a member of a relevant multidisciplinary team.

All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.


What is sarcoma?

Sarcoma is a term used to describe a whole family of cancers that arise in the body's connective tissues, which include fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, nerves, bones and cartilage.

Sarcoma is broken down into two types: 

Soft tissue sarcomas start in different soft tissue cells. There are over 50 types including fibrosarcoma (connective tissue), leiomyosarcoma (smooth muscle) and rhabdomyosarcoma (skeletal muscle).

Bone sarcomas are rare and mainly affect children and young adults. The most common bone sarcomas include osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma and chondrosarcoma.

Graphic of a human body


What tests are needed?

Common tests used to diagnose sarcomas include:

  • blood tests
  • imaging - ultrasound, x-rays, CT scans and/or MRI scan
  • biopsy
  • bone marrow biopsy (bone sarcomas only).


What treatment options are there?

Treatment for sarcoma may include one or more of the following:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • radiotherapy.

If treatment is specialised and complex, patients may need to travel to have a part of their treatment. The local health district will have an arrangement in place for this.


How common is sarcoma in NSW?

Sarcoma was diagnosed in:

  • 2014
    344 people in NSW
  • 2013
    384 people in NSW
  • 2012
    334 people in NSW

Data Source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2014 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)