Sarcomas

Sarcomas are cancerous tumors that develop in the soft tissue and bone.

Osteosarcoma

The most common bone cancer, osteosarcoma, tends to occur in teenagers. The cancer usually starts in osteoblasts, which are a type of bone cell that becomes new bone tissue.

Standard treatment for teens and children typically includes chemotherapy and/or radiation, surgery to remove a tumor, targeted therapy or samarium. Teenagers and children can also enter clinical trials to treat the disease.

Why we need better, safer treatments:

Children and teens who endure osteosarcoma treatment may suffer from late effects including secondary cancers, learning and memory problems, infertility, organ complications and more.

Survival rates for osteosarcoma patients vary depending on if the cancer has spread or not. If the cancer has spread beyond the main tumor, a child’s 5-year survival rates ranges from 15-30 percent, unless it has only spread to the lungs. In that case, the survival rate is 40 percent. If the cancer stays contained, the 5-year survival rates ranges from 60-80 percent.

The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund

Zach and his family helped start the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Directed proceeds from his music and other fundraisers help researchers tackle osteosarcoma.

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Ewing sarcoma

A type of tumor that forms in bone or soft tissue, Ewing sarcoma often occurs in teenagers and young adults. It can show up in a variety of places. Standard treatment for Ewing sarcoma includes chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, targeted therapy and high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. New types of treatments include immunotherapy and a variety of clinical trials.

Why we need better, safer treatments:

Children and teens who undergo treatment for Ewing sarcoma may suffer from a variety of late effects that affect their organs, growth, development, mental health and more. They also have a higher chance of getting a secondary cancer.

Five-year survival rates for children with Ewing sarcoma have increased since 1975 from 59 percent to 78 percent for children younger than 15 years. For young adults, the 5-year survival rate is 60 percent.

Rhabdomyosarcoma

Rhabdomyosarcoma generally begins in the muscles that are attached to bones and that help the body move. It’s the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children, and generally occurs in the arms, legs and eye orbit.

Standard treatment for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma includes radiation, chemotherapy or both, which are generally used before surgery.

Why we need better, safer treatments:

Children and young adults may suffer from late effects from treatment including infertility, radiated bone or tissue may not grow as well, stiffening of the lungs, poor vision or cataracts, cognitive delays and more.

The 5-year survival rate for rhabdomyosarcoma for children younger than age 15 is 67 percent. For young adults ages 15-19, the survival rate 51 percent. However, certain subtypes of rhabdomyosarcoma have poorer outcomes, and the location of the cancer can also make survival rates vary.

Non-rhabdomyosarcoma

Non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas account for approximately 3 percent of all childhood cancers. This cancer typically occurs in the connective tissue, peripheral nervous system, smooth muscles and vascular tissue.

Standard treatment may include surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy and radiation.

Why we need better, safer treatments:

Children and young adults may suffer from late effects from treatment including infertility, radiated bone or tissue may not grow as well, stiffening of the lungs, poor vision or cataracts, cognitive delays and more.

With current treatment, more than 70 percent of children and young adults with a tumor that hasn’t spread and has been surgically removed are expected to be cured. However, if the cancer has spread, 10 percent of patients are expected to become long-term survivors.

Sources: U.S. National Library of Medicine, American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute

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