Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Month - The Other Yellow Ribbon

"Sarcoma, according to the America Cancer Society estimates, will be diagnosed in 11,280 new patients in 2012 and 3,900 patients will die of this cancer."

Everyone knows what a Pink Ribbon stands for and what a great program to highlight Breast Cancer it has become! The military community loves our Yellow Support Our Troops Ribbon as well. Did you know there is another yellow ribbon? This month is another awareness month which is so much smaller but has a large impact on the lives of those it affects.

The second yellow ribbon is for Sarcoma Cancer Awareness and you might not have heard of it because it affects less than 1% of adult cancer patients. But if you have heard of it, it is likely that it had a large impact on someone that you care a lot about. Sarcoma affects bones and soft tissues such as muscle, fat, nerves, cartilage and blood vessels. Most sarcomas occur in the human limbs – legs and arms but can be found anywhere in the body.

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month and as with all cancers, the more we learn about it, the better care patients can receive from the medical community. The Pink Ribbon has saved many lives through awareness and cancer research dollars for breast cancer. These programs were too late for my wonderful mom who died at a very early age but saved my fantastic military spouse who also developed breast cancer. Sarcoma, according to the America Cancer Society estimates, will be diagnosed in 11,280 new patients in 2012 and 3,900 patients will die of this cancer. Not a very good prognosis for sure! Compared to breast cancer for example, the estimates from ACS are that almost 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 39,000 will die from this disease (see below for references).

Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with sarcoma so my learning curve went up steeply! I have been blessed with great physicians, surgeons and a caregiver extraordinaire! My original prognosis included possible amputation of my leg and this warrior was not exactly pleased by this turn of events. But a sarcoma center at the University of Michigan saved my leg and I am able to walk, garden and horse around with the grandchildren again because of the research and efforts of earlier pioneers in this disease. Thank you does not seem like enough so I am helping by spreading the word about Sarcoma Awareness Month.

Want to learn more? Have a friend or family member being challenged by this disease? One organization and website that I found helpful was the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative. There are other resources but they are a great getting started on your research website. Remember those who have suffered from this disease when you see a yellow ribbon and yes support our troops too!

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Col K has written several articles about caregiving, being in treatment and being a cancer survivor and some humorous times as well for the MilitaryAvenue community.

American Cancer Society Statistics:

* Sarcoma

* Breast Cancer


  1. Yes I have heard of this type of cancer. Yes, I HATE it! But I love the survivor! I also love that awareness will bring more interest and research into this disease. I would love for oncologists to be able to go beyond the disease, into recovery. Past the scars and into relief of pain: as nerves have been set on fire. This will come. I love the remission and NED (no evidence of disease). Now I yearn for the relief of it's existance.

    1. My son is a survivor and he's 8...

  2. Hi, I've been working for years to get July designated as Sarcoma Awareness Month. In June, my representative introduced House Resolution 722 to get that accomplished. I'd love for people to ask their Congressmen and women to cosponsor the resolution. I've also got a petition going to get 1,000 signatures. Information is here: http://sarcomaalliance.org/news/sarcoma-awareness-month/

    Google "Suzie Siegel" and "Sarcoma Awareness Month" and you'll see some of my writing. And, yes, I do quote myself sometimes! I was a newspaper reporter and editor before I was diagnosed in 2002 with leiomyosarcoma (LMS). In 2004, after surviving my first metastasis, I became an advocate. By 2005, I was wondering why sarcoma nonprofits had different colors and didn't agree on when to raise sarcoma awareness.

    Here's some background: You can blame the Sarcoma Alliance for choosing the yellow ribbon! We were founded in 1999. Sadly, our two founders later died of sarcoma, and others of us have picked up the flag. The best that we can remember is they chose the yellow ribbon because they identified with people fighting a war. They also chose the sunflower as the symbol of hope for sarcoma patients.

    As far as I know, we were the first national sarcoma nonprofit to try to bring together nonprofits that focused on only one subtype or one institution. We were going to be allies in the fight -- that's why we're the Alliance. We still cooperate closely with those who play well with others.

    In 2001, one of our founders started a Sarcoma Awareness Week in June, and that was picked up by others. Later, Bruce Shriver founded the Sarcoma Initiative and decided a week in July should be International Sarcoma Awareness Week, and he promoted fundraisers for his nonprofit during that week. We went 'round and 'round, and finally, the Alliance, the Sarcoma Foundation of America, the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation and others changed to July for consistency. Here's what I wrote back then: http://www.lmsdr.org/ctos2007.php

    Some sarcoma nonprofits have adopted the yellow ribbon and sunflower, and yellow is widely associated with sarcoma. We were founded before LIVESTRONG started the wristbands, and they made theirs yellow! So, we didn't want to try to compete with them.

    Other sarcoma nonprofits have chosen their own colors. Of the big three, SFA has wristbands in red, white and blue while Bruce has blue ones.

    Thanks for reading my history lecture. Now let's get Congressional support!

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