Sarcoma (bone and soft tissue cancer) is a composite and complex group of 50 different histological types of malignant tumors occurring in mesenchymal cells in the bone or soft tissue (long bones, musculature, peripheral nerves, fat tissue, and connective tissue).
The international consensus is that sarcoma treatment should take place at highly specialized centers. In Norway, diagnostics and treatment is formally centralized at the regional hospital level.
There exist Nordic guidelines for diagnosis and treatment by the Scandinavian Sarcoma Group
. A new database has recently been established by the National Competence Center
for registering all sarcoma patients in Norway in addition to registration of the treatment given and their results.
Successful treatment requires that patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team for diagnosis and treatment within radiology, pathology/cytology, nuclear medicine, cytogenetics and molecular genetics, surgery and orthopedics, and oncology. It is very important that patients are referred to a sarcoma center before surgery takes place, because surgery performed in hospitals that are not highly specialized centers often causes tumor cell contamination of neighboring structures and poorer local tumor control.
Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer constituting about 1% of all malignant tumors. In Norway, there are about 160 soft tissue sarcomas and 40 bone sarcomas diagnosed annually.
Of all of the soft tissue sarcomas, 60% are localized in the extremities, pelvic wall, and thoracic wall. Twenty percent are found in the abdominal/retroperitoneal area and 20% in the head/neck or the female genitalia.