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A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a tumor. Although risk factors often influence the development of a tumor, most do not directly cause a tumor. Some people with several risk factors never develop a tumor, while others with no known risk factors do.
Doctors and researchers do not know what causes most cancers in children and teens, but the following factors may raise a person’s chance of developing EFT:
Genetic changes. Changes in a tumor cell's chromosomes appear to be responsible for EFT, but the disease is not inherited (meaning it doesn’t come from the father or mother). The genetic changes occur for no known reason. A high percentage of tumor cells have a chromosomal translocation, which means that small pieces of genetic material swap places inside the tumor cell. Usually the translocation is between chromosomes 11 and 22, although it may also occur between chromosomes 21 and 22, 7 and 22, and 17 and 22. The fusion of these bits of genetic material results in the uncontrolled growth of EFT cells.
Age. About two-thirds (64%) of all people with EFT are between the ages of 10 and 20. EFT is rare in adults older than 30 and in very young children.
Gender. EFT is more common among boys than girls.
Race/Ethnicity. EFT occurs most frequently in white people and is rare in black people in the United States and Africa. EFT has been reported in Japan and is uncommon in China.