Sarcoma – recurrence, prognosis and life expectancy
Sarcoma is a malignant tumor of the connective tissue of the body and a relatively rare type of cancer that can develop at any age, anywhere in the body, and also from different tissues sarcoma of adipose tissue (liposarcoma), sarcoma of involuntary muscles (leiomyosarcoma), sarcoma of arbitrary muscles (rhabdomyosarcoma), sarcoma of nerves, joint sarcoma (synovial sarcoma), sarcoma of blood vessels (angiosarcoma) or other types of sarcoma such as Ewing’s sarcoma, etc., This variety of the tissues from which sarcoma can develop makes an assessment of the chances of recovery and life expectancy very difficult.
Below you will learn about the main components and characteristics that allow to estimate prospects and predict the disease course and affect survival and recovery in sarcoma.
These data are based on the results of various extensive studies and clinical recommendations of Israeli doctors.
It is important to remember that this information can not predict the exact chances of survival and recovery of a particular patient. The exact course of the disease in each individual patient is affected by many factors, some of which are still unclear even for the medical world.
Life expectancy with sarcoma.
A study of 5,267 patients with limb sarcoma or trunk (below the neck to the groin) found that 80% of patients with a sarcoma tumor less than 5 cm survived for 20 years after surgery.
In the same study, it was found that about 40% of patients with a tumor more than 15 cm at the time of surgery survived 20 years later.
Metastases are secondary cancers of the original sarcoma, they are formed when the cells of the primary tumor move through the human body to other organs.
The presence of distant metastases, spread from the main tumor of the sarcoma, shows the disease at an advanced stage and complicates the process of recovery. In some cases, when the primary tumor and metastasis can be completely removed, recovery can be achieved even after metastasis. Studies have shown that lung metastasis is best treatable.
The presence of local metastases in the lymph nodes, that comes in contact with the blood vessels, also reduces the chances of recovery, but to a lesser extent than metastases in distant organs.
In general, the majority of sarcoma species (about 56%) are found at the local stage, about 19% at the regional stage, and about 16% at the stage of distant metastases.
In general, the 5-year survival rate of patients with localized disease is 83%, in patients with regional disease, 5-year survival is 54%, and in patients with metastatic disease, the survival rate is 16% for 5 years.
Density of organs, blood vessels and nerves in the abdomen, head and neck affects the ability to remove the entire tumor. Since complete removal of the sarcoma by surgery is the most effective method of treatment, any restriction in the operation adversely affects the chances of recovery.
So, let’s consider the main factors that affect survival and recovery in sarcoma.
1. The size of sarcoma is an important factor in predicting the course of the disease.
Based on several studies, a significant relationship was found between the size of the tumor at the time of its diagnosis and the likelihood of metastasis. Recall that metastatic tumors give a lower chance of recovery.
A review of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) noted a significant association between the incidence of metastases and the size of the primary tumor at the time of diagnosis.
According to this study, sarcomas smaller than 2.5 cm at the time of diagnosis had a 6% chance of metastasis. Large tumors, more than 2.6 cm but less than 4.9 cm metastasize in 23% of cases, and at a tumor size of 5 to 10 cm at the time of diagnosis – 38% of cases of metastasis.
In addition, tumors between 10 and 15 cm metastasized in 49% of cases, and tumors larger than 15 cm but less than 20 cm metastasized in 58% of cases.
For tumors exceeding 20 cm, the probability of metastases is 83%.
One of the most important factors in this study is the area in which the sarcoma begins. Studies have shown that those patients whose tumor develops in the upper limbs have higher chances of recovery. Then those in the lower extremities, inside the trunk, chest and neck, inside or behind the abdominal cavity, and finally in the head and neck region.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has developed a “survival scale” based on the results of studies of 2,163 patients who have been treated at the center surgically for many years.
The researchers collected a lot of data on patients, including age, tumor size, depth, tissue from which the sarcoma was formed, and the area in which it appeared. Then researchers examined which factors had the greatest impact on the survival of patients for 12 years.
The density of organs, blood vessels and nerves in the abdomen, head and neck affects the ability to remove the entire tumor. Since complete removal of sarcoma is the most effective method of treatment, any restriction of surgical treatment in these areas has a negative impact on the chances of recovery.