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Risk factors for soft tissue carcinoma

Some common risk factors for soft tissue sarcoma include:


Age: While soft tissue sarcoma can occur in people of any age, it is more commonly found in adults over the age of 50.


Hereditary conditions: Some rare, inherited genetic conditions are considered risk factors for soft tissue sarcoma. They include:

  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1 (von Recklinghausen disease or NF1)
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome

Chemical exposure: Exposure to vinyl chloride and dioxin may increase the risk of developing soft tissue sarcomas. Vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, car upholstery, plastic kitchenware and wire coatings. Dioxins are a group of chemicals that form during the burning of household and industrial waste.

Previous treatment

Radiation therapy: On rare occasions, external radiation therapy to treat any form of cancer can lead to the development of soft tissue sarcoma later in life in the treated area. This can occur anywhere from five to 30 years after initial treatment.

Other conditions

Weakened immune system: People with HIV sometimes develop Kaposi sarcoma, a type of soft tissue sarcoma that develops from the cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. This rare type of sarcoma is treated differently than other, more common types of soft tissue sarcoma.

Next topic: What are the symptoms of soft tissue sarcoma?

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