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Risk Factors

Most sarcomas do not have a known cause, although there are several factors that could increase a person’s risk of developing sarcoma:

  • History of radiation therapy – People who have received radiation therapy for previous cancers may be at higher risk of developing sarcoma.
  • Genetic disorders – People with a family history of inherited disorders such as von Recklinghausen’s disease (neurofibromatosis), Gardner syndrome, Werner syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, or retinoblastoma have a higher risk of sarcoma.
  • Chemical exposure - Exposure to vinyl chloride monomer (a substance used to make some types of plastics), dioxin, or arsenic may increase the risk of sarcoma. However, most sarcomas are not known to be associated with specific environmental hazards.
  • Long-term swelling – Having lymphedema, or swelling, in the arms or legs for a long time could increase the risk of sarcoma.
 

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