Sarcoma Causes and Risk Factors

Although sarcoma causes are not well defined, studies have revealed several factors that may increase the possibility for an individual to develop this type of cancer.

Radiation Therapy– Also called radiotherapy, radiation therapy is one of the best known risk factor for soft tissue sarcoma. It is shown that patients treated with radiation therapy forcancer of the retina, breast, uterine, ovarian, testicular or lymphatic system have a higher riskof developing soft tissue sarcomas than the general population. The risk appears to be proportional to the dose of radiation the patient received. Certain patients receive high dose of radiation to the diseased tissue and the surrounding healthy tissue in order to increase the curative effects of the treatment. This can lead to sarcoma, unfortunately. New technologies are being considered to limit the risks.

Chronic lymphedema – this condition is characterized by accumulation of lymphatic fluid inthe tissues, causing swelling in one arm or leg, sometimes in both arms or both legs. The disease can be due to radiotherapy as well as or injury,  infectionor excision of lymph nodes. Regardless of the cause, chronic lymphedema is also a risk factor for developing sarcoma.

Genetic Disease– studies have shown that some inherited diseases or syndromes are associated with a high risk of developing soft tissue sarcoma: Li-Fraumeni syndrome, which  is associated with an alteration of the tumor suppressor gene p53; Von Recklinghausen’s disease, also called neurofibromatosis type 1 and associated with the alteration of the NF1gene; hereditary leiomyomatosisand renal cell cancer (HLRCC), characterized by altered geneFH; and hereditary retinoblastoma, which is caused by an alteration of RB1 gene.

Viral Infection – patients suffering with infections of the human immunodeficiency virus(HIV/AIDS) can develop a form of soft tissue sarcoma called Kaposi’s sarcoma. The cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma) can also be caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), although patients infected with VHSK only (not along with HIV),rarely diagnosed with Kaposi’s sarcoma.

In spite of medical advance, the causes of bone sarcoma(osteosarcomaEwing’s sarcoma, and chondrosarcoma) are not clearly indentified; several factors, however, have been shown to increasethe likelihood of developing this type of cancer. Some of them include:

Cancer Drugs–  Chemotherapy is, so far, the most common cancer treatment. Certain chemotherapy drugs (anticancer drugs), either given into a vein or taken by mouth, seem to increase the risk for developing sarcoma; children are particularly sensitive.

Chemicals and Radiation– Certain carcinogenic (cause cancer) chemicals, such as vinyl chloride, are associated with a high risk of developing a sarcoma. Bone sarcoma can also occur in people who have been treated with high doses of radiation. In addition, numerous studies show that fluoridecan causeosteosarcoma

Genetic Predisposition(geneticsusceptibility)– a low percentage of bone cancers is due to heredity. For example, children with hereditary retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, are more at risk of developing osteosarcoma. This risk is even higher in children who underwent radiation therapy.

MetalImplant – people with metal implants, either for medical use such as to repair fractures or not, are more likely to be diagnosed with osteosarcoma. It also believed that certain types of metal implant, which contain nickel, can lead certain form of skin cancer.

Ewing’s sarcoma – this is a rare form of bone cancer that primarily diagnosed in children and adolescents, but it is not strongly associated with hereditarycancer syndromes, childhood congenital diseases, or exposure to radiation.

Sarcoma Overview                                                          Sarcoma Symptoms

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