Background In sarcoma patients the roles of smoking history, family cancer history, and leukoreduced blood transfusions have not been studied and the effect of preoperative radiation on blood loss has not been examined. Methods Seventy-seven patients with non-metastatic and non-recurrent thigh sarcomas surgically treated at the Cleveland Clinic were identified. Among patient variables studied were: close family history of cancer, perioperative transfusion history, smoking history, and radiation history. Median follow-up for the survivors was 3.2 years. Results We found that tumor grade, transfusion >3 U (P = 0.022), and pre- or post-operative radiation therapy (P = 0.041) were risk factors for distant metastasis. Tumor grade (P = 0.008), positive smoking history (P = 0.039), and >3 U of non-leukoreduced blood transfused (P = 0.037) were risk factors for death of any-cause. Close family history of cancer correlated with having a grade 3 sarcoma (P = 0.044). Neoadjuvant radiotherapy correlated with >3 U of blood transfused (P = 0.001) and biopsy performed at the treating institution led to a significant decrease in rate of recurrence (P = 0.016). Conclusions We present novel findings in terms of transfusions, family history of cancer and site of initial biopsy in sarcoma patients.