What you need to know

It is recommended that you:

  • See a specialist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
  • 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 and bone sarcomas.

A soft tissue sarcoma happens when normal cells in a soft tissue change into abnormal cells and grow out of control. There are over 50 types of soft tissue sarcomas. The type depends on the kind of soft tissue the cancer grows from. Some examples include: fibrosarcoma (connective tissue), leiomyosarcoma (smooth muscle) and rhabdomyosarcoma (skeletal muscle).

The most common places sarcomas develop are the legs and arms, but they can develop in any part of the body, including the abdomen, pelvis and head/neck area.

Bone sarcomas are rare types of cancer that mainly affect children and young adults. There are several types of bone sarcomas, they can grow in any part of the body but develop most commonly in the arms and legs. The most common bone sarcomas include: osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma and chondrosarcoma.

Graphic of a human body

Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment of my sarcoma?

If your GP suspects you have sarcoma, they will refer you to a specialist. The specialist should:

  • have experience treating sarcomas
  • be an active member of a multidisciplinary team.

All the specialists listed on Canrefer are members of multidisciplinary teams.

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests do I need?

You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose a sarcoma. The most common tests are:

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

What treatment will I have?

Treatment for sarcoma may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • radiotherapy

Where do I receive treatment?

If treatment for your sarcoma is specialised and complex, you may need to travel to have a part of your treatment. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.

You may be able to have parts of your treatment closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating specialist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Questions for your specialist

Find out some key questions to ask your specialist at your first appointment.

Questions you can ask
Booklet about bone cancer

Understanding Primary Bone Cancer is a fact sheet for people affected by cancer. 

Cancer Council NSW