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Sarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the connective tissue in the body. This can include cartilage, tendons, blood vessels, muscles or bones. The exact cause of sarcoma is not well understood. However, scientists believe that, as with many other cancers, sarcomas can develop from mutations in the DNA that affect the genes that regulate cell growth. These mutations may be passed down from parents or acquired during an individual’s lifetime.

Risk factors associated with sarcoma

There are a number of risk factors that are also associated with developing sarcoma. These include:

  • Certain inherited syndromes, such as hereditary retinoblastoma, familiar adenomatous polyposis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Werner syndrome
  • Exposure to carcinogens, such as herbicides, chlorophenols, arsenic, vinyl chloride and dioxin, especially in high doses and over prolonged periods of time
  • Receiving radiation therapy as treatment for a previous cancer or other condition
  • Having lymphedema or another condition that has damaged the lymphatic system

It is important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean you will develop sarcoma. Similarly, it is possible to develop sarcoma without having any known risk factors.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we’re dedicated to researching and advancing our knowledge of sarcoma, including its causes. Because of our commitment to cancer research, we have been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Additionally, we provide a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients with sarcoma and any other type of cancer. The multispecialty team that makes up our Sarcoma Program regularly collaborates as a tumor board to ensure each of our patients receives an individualized treatment plan that best suits his or her needs.

If you would like to learn more about sarcoma and the treatment options available at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form. No referral is necessary to schedule an initial consultation.