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How Can I Prevent Soft Tissue Sarcoma If I'm At Risk for It?

Because most people who get soft tissue sarcoma do not have any risk factors, health care providers have little advice on how you can prevent this very rare form of cancer.

Remember, you can have all the risk factors and not get soft tissue sarcoma. Or you can have none of them and get this illness. Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about your risk.

When possible, you should avoid these risk factors:

  • Avoid exposure to radiation. (This may not be possible for people who need radiation to treat cancer.)

  • Avoid exposure to certain chemicals, especially herbicides and dioxin.

  • If you or anyone in your family has had neurofibromatosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, retinoblastoma, or soft tissue sarcoma, you may have a slightly elevated risk of this type of cancer. Ask your health care provider if you should be tested for inherited genes that might increase your risk of soft tissue sarcoma. It is important to know that there are not a lot of genetic tests to accurately predict your risk for sarcomas.

Unfortunately, there is no test that can find sarcoma cells when they first begin to grow. However, you have a better chance of surviving soft tissue sarcoma if it is found and treated early. For this reason, it is important to tell your health care provider right away if you notice any lumps or other symptoms on your body. If you feel a lump on your body, it is important to have your health care provider check it. This is especially true if the lump is causing pain, is getting larger, or is bigger than 2 inches across. Even though most lumps are not sarcomas, you can't assume so. Your health care provider may continue to watch the lump or have tests done.

Don't be afraid to question your health care provider and ask for more tests to make yourself feel better. It is your health and your body, and it is important to know confidently that any concern you have has been completely evaluated to your satisfaction, and you completely understand what is happening.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 1/27/2014
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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