Differences between Sarcoma and Carcinoma

Cancers originating in any organ or tissue of your body are called primary cancers. If they spread, they’re considered metastatic.

Metastatic cancers can spread to other organs, such as your liver. In some cases they can spread to your bones.

There are two primary types of cancer: carcinomas and sarcomas. They differ in the kind of tissues they originate from.


Sarcomas develop in your mesodermal tissue.

Sarcomas include cancers of the:

  • Bone
  • Muscle
  • Fat
  • Nerves
  • Cartilage
  • Fibrous tissue, such as ligaments and connect tissue
  • Blood cancers
    • Leukemia
    • Lymphoma
    • Myeloma

Characteristics of Sarcomas

  • Comprise about only 1 percent of all cancers
  • Affect both young and old people
  • Grow in ball-like masses
  • Spread by satellite nodules
  • May spread to lungs


Carcinomas, on the other hand, originate in your epithelial tissue, such as the lining of your breast, lung, colon or prostate.

Carcinomas include cancers of the:

  • Breast
  • Lung
  • Kidney
  • Thyroid
  • Colon
  • Prostate
  • Stomach
  • Many others

Characteristics of Carcinomas

  • Most common cancers in the world
  • Comprise more than 90 percent of all cancers
  • Primarily affect people age 50 or older
  • Spread throughout body through blood and lymph
  • May spread to lymph nodes, lungs and bones

There are scores of subtypes of both carcinomas and sarcomas.

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