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Sarcoma cancer more common than previously thought, as research shows 15 people are diagnosed a day in the UK

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Monday, 2nd July 2018

Sarcoma cancer more common than previously thought, as research shows 15 people are diagnosed a day in the UK

More than 5300 people are now being diagnosed with sarcoma cancer each day in the UK, a national charity has revealed.

Data from Sarcoma UK suggests that sarcoma is more common than previously believed, as historical data pointed to the total of UK diagnoses a year being around the 3800 mark.

Sarcoma is cancer of the bone and soft tissue which can develop anywhere in the body, making it one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose.

The majority of people are diagnosed when their sarcoma is the size of a large baked bean tin.

The new research, released as part of Sarcoma Awareness Week, is taken from the most recent sets of complete sarcoma data from the four UK nations.

The project, led by the charity, marks the first time in almost a decade that such information has been collated consistently.

With more than 100 sub-types of the disease, scientific understanding of sarcoma remains modest compared to more common cancers, such as breast or prostate.

In 2015, sarcoma made up 1.3% of all UK cancers diagnosed in that year.

Although survival rates have crept up incrementally in the last two decades, the outlook for people diagnosed remains challenging, with the five-year sarcoma survival rate currently at 55%.

Sarah McDonald, Acting Chief Executive of Sarcoma UK, said: 'It's time to take sarcoma seriously. For the first time in years, we have a fuller, accurate picture of how sarcoma is affecting the UK population.

'We had suspected, based on the sheer numbers of people contacting Sarcoma UK for support and information every year, that the historical figure of 3800 diagnoses a year just wasn't an accurate representation of what was really happening.

'Although the breakthroughs in our knowledge of sarcoma are starting to come through, there’s clearly a long way to go in terms of fully understanding its behaviour, how it spreads and how we develop better treatments for it in the future.'

Sarcoma Awareness Week runs from 2nd – 8th of July. You can follow its progress through the hashtag #SarcomaIsCancer and by visiting Sarcoma UK's website.