Speakers: Benjamin J. Miller, MD, MS, FAAOS, Associate Professor, University of Iowa, Department of Ortho and Rehab
What is a sarcoma and how common are sarcoma cancers?
Benjamin J. Miller, MD, MS, FAAOS: Sarcoma is a form of cancer that's unique compared to other types. Most of the time when people think of cancer, things like breast cancer and lung cancer, prostate cancer. These are carcinomas, these are cancers that involve the linings of what people are made of. So our glands, the organs, the skin, sarcoma is different because it's a cancer that involves what we're made of physically. So it involves adipose tissue, which is fat muscles and bones. We think of it as the fillers. It's interesting because we think, when we think of ourselves, we're kind of mostly bone and muscle and we think of the structure of ourselves, but this is actually quite a rare place to have cancer. Sarcoma makes up about 1% of all cancers. So it's really considered a rare disease or an orphan disease. And I find that many of my patients diagnosed with sarcoma, a lot of times it's the first time they've ever heard of a sarcoma. Before being diagnosed, they didn't even know that it was a thing. And so this is, you know, a lot of what the efforts that we try to do things like Sarcoma Month, any time we try to raise funds for research, we're really addressing the issues of sarcoma being rare. So it makes up 1% of all cancer. It actually gets less than 1% of all funding. And we also have a challenge of trying to increase awareness. So people that are diagnosed with sarcoma, hopefully, it's not the first time that they hear of it. And they know that sarcoma is a diagnosis that they should be seeking care for and then specifically care at a specialized sarcoma center.