Sarcoma: Risk Factors

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 3,000 new bone sarcomas, and 12,000 new soft tissue sarcomas (STS) will be diagnosed in the coming year.

These rare tumors represent only one percent of all adult cancer and about 15 percent of all cancers in children.

Other risk factors may include:

Previous radiation

Radiation exposure (for the prior treatment of other cancers) may increase the likelihood of developing sarcoma. However this accounts for fewer than 5 percent of all sarcomas. Recent advances in radiation therapy now allow physicians to target cancers much more precisely and to limit radiation doses, which may minimize these risks.

Genetic factors

Some inherited conditions may increase an individual’s chance of developing sarcoma. These include

  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Gardner’s syndome
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Werner’s syndrome
  • Gorlin syndrome
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Marfucci syndrome
  • Oillier disease

It is important to note that many people who develop sarcomas have no identifiable risk factors.