Survival outcomes for adolescent and young adult patients with soft tissue sarcomas lag behind those of children diagnosed with histologically similar tumours. To help understand these differences in outcomes, we discuss the following issues with regard to the management of these patients with soft tissue sarcomas: delays in diagnosis, trial availability and participation, aspects of the organisation of care (with an emphasis on age-specific needs), national centralisation of sarcoma care, international consortia, and factors related to tumour biology. Improved understanding of the causes of the survival gap between adolescents and young adults with sarcomas will help drive new initiatives to improve final health outcomes in these populations. In this Review, we specifically focus on embryonal and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, and adult soft tissue sarcomas diagnosed in adolescents and young adults, and discuss the age-specific needs of these patients.
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