Statistics at a Glance

At a Glance

Estimated New Cases in 2020 13,130

% of All New Cancer Cases 0.7%

Estimated Deaths in 2020 5,350

% of All Cancer Deaths 0.9%

5-Year
Relative Survival

64.7% 2010–2016
Year Rate of New Cases — SEER 9 Rate of New Cases — SEER 13 Death Rate — U.S. 5-Year Relative Survival — SEER 9
Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend
1975 2.21 2.23 - - 0.90 0.83 59.76% 62.25%
1976 2.23 2.24 - - 0.86 0.90 61.08% 62.42%
1977 2.26 2.25 - - 0.92 0.97 61.39% 62.59%
1978 2.47 2.26 - - 0.94 1.04 66.86% 62.76%
1979 2.23 2.27 - - 1.23 1.12 57.32% 62.93%
1980 2.10 2.28 - - 1.22 1.21 66.97% 63.10%
1981 2.14 2.29 - - 1.26 1.23 59.30% 63.26%
1982 2.31 2.30 - - 1.23 1.24 58.63% 63.43%
1983 2.35 2.31 - - 1.26 1.26 66.27% 63.60%
1984 2.46 2.32 - - 1.28 1.28 61.29% 63.76%
1985 2.27 2.33 - - 1.33 1.30 63.49% 63.93%
1986 2.32 2.34 - - 1.29 1.31 64.89% 64.09%
1987 2.46 2.38 - - 1.35 1.33 64.58% 64.25%
1988 2.43 2.42 - - 1.32 1.35 64.58% 64.42%
1989 2.32 2.47 - - 1.31 1.37 67.59% 64.58%
1990 2.49 2.51 - - 1.36 1.39 62.32% 64.74%
1991 2.64 2.56 - - 1.39 1.41 67.91% 64.91%
1992 2.58 2.60 2.57 2.65 1.41 1.43 66.74% 65.07%
1993 2.53 2.65 2.62 2.68 1.49 1.45 69.06% 65.23%
1994 2.68 2.70 2.68 2.72 1.49 1.47 64.00% 65.39%
1995 2.85 2.75 2.73 2.76 1.50 1.49 68.01% 65.55%
1996 2.83 2.80 2.95 2.80 1.50 1.51 68.57% 65.71%
1997 3.00 2.85 2.95 2.84 1.55 1.53 66.30% 65.87%
1998 2.88 2.90 2.82 2.88 1.49 1.45 65.77% 66.02%
1999 2.90 2.95 2.84 2.92 1.34 1.38 67.92% 66.18%
2000 3.01 3.00 2.95 2.96 1.32 1.32 65.59% 66.34%
2001 3.12 3.06 3.07 3.00 1.29 1.25 65.12% 66.50%
2002 3.00 3.11 2.96 3.04 1.24 1.26 66.52% 66.65%
2003 3.09 3.17 3.02 3.08 1.25 1.26 67.40% 66.81%
2004 3.23 3.22 3.26 3.13 1.25 1.27 68.80% 66.96%
2005 3.37 3.28 3.31 3.17 1.27 1.28 69.72% 67.12%
2006 3.08 3.30 3.14 3.21 1.29 1.28 65.43% 67.27%
2007 3.41 3.31 3.32 3.26 1.29 1.29 65.76% 67.42%
2008 3.40 3.33 3.40 3.30 1.29 1.29 65.92% 67.58%
2009 3.38 3.35 3.30 3.35 1.30 1.30 67.28% 67.73%
2010 3.35 3.36 3.35 3.40 1.33 1.30 68.23% 67.88%
2011 3.29 3.38 3.26 3.44 1.31 1.31 66.11% 68.03%
2012 3.46 3.40 3.51 3.49 1.33 1.31 67.19% 68.18%
2013 3.43 3.42 3.56 3.54 1.31 1.32 - 68.33%
2014 3.47 3.43 3.54 3.52 1.34 1.32 - 68.48%
2015 3.45 3.45 3.49 3.49 1.32 1.33 - 68.63%
2016 3.50 3.47 3.46 3.47 1.31 1.33 - 68.78%
2017 3.41 3.48 3.45 3.45 1.33 1.34 - 68.93%

New cases come from SEER 13. Deaths come from U.S. Mortality.
All Races, Both Sexes. Rates are Age-Adjusted.
Modeled trend lines were calculated from the underlying rates using the Joinpoint Trend Analysis Software.

New cases are also referred to as incident cases in other publications. Rates of new cases are also referred to as incidence rates.


Rate of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The rate of new cases of soft tissue cancer was 3.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. The death rate was 1.3 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2013–2017 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 0.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with soft tissue cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2015–2017 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2017, there were an estimated 153,259 people living with soft tissue cancer in the United States.

Survival Statistics

How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Soft Tissue Cancer?

Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.

64.7%

5-Year
Relative Survival

64.7%

Based on data from SEER 18 2010–2016. Gray figures represent those who have died from soft tissue cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.

Additional Information

Survival by Stage

Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier soft tissue cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For soft tissue cancer, 60.0% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year relative survival for localized soft tissue cancer is 81.2%.

Percent of Cases & 5-Year Relative Survival by Stage at Diagnosis: Soft Tissue Cancer
Stage Percent of Cases 5-Year Relative Survival
Localized
Confined to Primary Site
60% 81.2%
Regional
Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
19% 56.0%
Distant
Cancer Has Metastasized
15% 15.4%
Unknown
Unstaged
6% 55.7%

SEER 18 2010–2016, All Races, Both Sexes by SEER Summary Stage 2000

Additional Information

New Cases and Deaths

How Common Is This Cancer?

Compared to other cancers, soft tissue cancer is rare.

Rank Common Types of Cancer Estimated New
Cases 2020
Estimated
Deaths 2020
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 276,480 42,170
2. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 228,820 135,720
3. Prostate Cancer 191,930 33,330
4. Colorectal Cancer 147,950 53,200
5. Melanoma of the Skin 100,350 6,850
6. Bladder Cancer 81,400 17,980
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 77,240 19,940
8. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 73,750 14,830
9. Uterine Cancer 65,620 12,590
10. Leukemia 60,530 23,100
- - -
21. Soft Tissue Cancer 13,130 5,350

Soft tissue cancer represents 0.7% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

0.7%

In 2020, it is estimated that there will be 13,130 new cases of soft tissue cancer and an estimated 5,350 people will die of this disease.

Who Gets This Cancer?

Soft tissue cancer is more common in men than women. Past treatment with radiation therapy, exposure to chemicals such as arsenic, and having certain inherited disorders like retinoblastoma are associated with this cancer. The rate of new cases of soft tissue cancer was 3.5 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2013–2017 cases, age-adjusted.

Rate of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Soft Tissue including Heart Cancer
Males
All Races 4.2
White 4.3
Black 3.8
Asian/Pacific Islander 3.2
American Indian/Alaska Native 3.5
Hispanic 3.7
Non-Hispanic 4.3
Females
All Races 2.9
White 2.9
Black 3.1
Asian/Pacific Islander 2.3
American Indian/Alaska Native 2.1
Hispanic 2.9
Non-Hispanic 2.9

SEER 21 2013–2017, Age-Adjusted

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Soft Tissue Cancer
Age Range Percent of New Cases
<20 7.7%
20–34 9.1%
35–44 8.2%
45–54 13.1%
55–64 19.1%
65–74 19.9%
75–84 14.9%
>84 7.9%

Soft tissue cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65–74.

Median Age
At Diagnosis

61

SEER 21 2013–2017, All Races, Both Sexes

Who Dies From This Cancer?

For soft tissue cancer, death rates increase with age. Men are slightly more likely than women to die of this cancer. The death rate was 1.3 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2013–2017 deaths, age-adjusted.

Death Rate per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Soft Tissue including Heart Cancer
Males
All Races 1.5
White 1.6
Black 1.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 1.0
American Indian/Alaska Native 1.4
Hispanic 1.2
Non-Hispanic 1.6
Females
All Races 1.2
White 1.1
Black 1.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.8
American Indian/Alaska Native 1.0
Hispanic 0.9
Non-Hispanic 1.2

U.S. 2013–2017, Age-Adjusted

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Soft Tissue Cancer
Age Range Percent of Deaths
<20 3.4%
20–34 5.7%
35–44 6.0%
45–54 11.5%
55–64 20.0%
65–74 22.3%
75–84 19.5%
>84 11.6%

The percent of soft tissue cancer deaths is highest among people aged 65–74.

Median Age
At Death

66

U.S. 2013–2017, All Races, Both Sexes

Trends in Rates

Changes Over Time

Keeping track of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.

Using statistical models for analysis, age-adjusted rates for new soft tissue cancer cases have been rising on average 0.5% each year over the last 10 years. Age-adjusted death rates have been rising on average 0.4% each year over 2008–2017. 5-year relative survival trends are shown below.

More About This Cancer

Soft Tissue Cancer

Soft tissue cancer occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells form in the soft tissues of the body. Soft tissues of the body include the heart, muscles, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves and tissues around joints.

Soft tissue cancers can form almost anywhere in the body, but are most common in the head, neck, arm, legs, trunk, and abdomen. A sign of soft tissue cancer is a lump or swelling in soft tissue of the body. Soft tissue cancers can be diagnosed with a biopsy.

There are many types of soft tissue cancers, including:

Additional Information

More Information

Here are some resources for learning more about soft tissue cancer.

References

All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2017, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2017/, based on November 2019 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2020.

Suggested Citation

All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Soft Tissue Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/soft.html

These stat facts focus on population statistics that are based on the U.S. population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer Profiles.

The statistics presented in these stat facts are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.

Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. These stat facts do not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although links are provided to information in many of these areas.