You might notice changes in your body. There are lots of possible causes for different symptoms, so it’s important to know what to look out for. If your doctor wants to find out more they might organise different tests or scans.
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Although the causes of soft tissue sarcomas are unknown, research is going on to try to find out more. Sarcomas, like other cancers, are not infectious and can’t be passed on to other people.
Sarcomas can occur at any age but are more common as people get older. About 4 out of 10 people (40%) that are diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma are over 65.
Most sarcomas are not caused by an inherited faulty gene that can be passed on to other family members. Members of your family are not likely to have an increased risk of developing a soft tissue sarcoma because you have one.
However, people who have some rare inherited genetic conditions are more at risk of developing a sarcoma. These conditions include:
You would normally know if you had one of these conditions and your doctor would check you regularly for any sign of a sarcoma.
Very rarely, a soft tissue sarcoma will occur in a part of the body that has previously been treated with radiotherapy for another type of cancer. The sarcoma will not usually develop until at least 5–10 years after the radiotherapy treatment. To reduce the risk, radiotherapy is very carefully planned. Improvements in the way radiotherapy is given mean that the risk of developing a sarcoma is very small.
The development of some sarcomas may be linked to exposure to some types of chemicals. These include:
There is no evidence that an injury can cause a soft tissue sarcoma to develop. It is possible that an injury may draw attention to a sarcoma that was already there and not causing any symptoms, but the sarcoma will have taken many years to develop.
Order or download our free booklet about soft tissue sarcomas. It covers symptoms, diagnosis, possible treatments, and practical issues.
Worrying about cancer can have a big impact on your feelings. Read our advice to help you cope with your emotions.
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Our Online Community is always open and full of people ready to support you.
A place for anyone affected by any type of soft tissue sarcoma to support one another, ask questions, and share experiences.
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