THE A B C’s of a SARCOMA DIAGNOSIS presented by the Mayo Clinical and the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation

Why Second Opinions Matter for Sarcoma:

Dr. Margaret Von Merhen Chief, Division of Oncology / Dr. Jeffrey Farma, Surgical


  •  Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer – with less than 20,000 new diagnoses occurring each year. Because it is so rare, not all doctors are familiar with how to treat these tumors effectively, which makes it especially important to seek a second opinion if you are diagnosed with a sarcoma.
  • Sarcomas are cancerous tumors that develop both in bone and in soft tissues such as fat, muscles, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. Though they commonly form in the arms, legs, or torso, sarcomas can occur anywhere in the body. There are also more than 70 different types of soft tissue sarcomas, each affecting the body in a different way.
  • “They’re very rare,” said Jeffrey M. Farma, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist and expert in Sarcoma at Fox Chase Cancer Center. “And not every practitioner is experienced in dealing with these types of tumors. Some hospitals may have never seen certain types of sarcomas before.”
  • In addition to being uncommon, sarcomas can be challenging to treat. “They have a high chance of recurring locally and can also spread elsewhere, even with aggressive treatment,” Farma said.
  • Ensuring you receive an accurate diagnosis is critical. This, along with seeking care at a place that can offer personalized, cutting-edge treatments, offers the greatest chance for success.
  • “It’s crucial to see a physician at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. You will be seen by a multidisciplinary team who  specializes in sarcoma and can determine the best treatment plan for your specific disease.”