Liposarcoma is a rare kind of cancer and is classified as soft tissue sarconoma. This is a cancerous growth originating from the fat cells in deep soft tissue as opposed to the superficial layer of fat cells directly beneath your skin or mucous membrane.
How Is Liposarcoma Treated?
What are the treatment options for liposarcoma? Liposarcomas are preferable treated by surgical removal of the tumor with the goal to prevent it from reoccurring and infecting other tissues in the body. However, the effectiveness of the surgical procedure depends on the size and the location of the tumors.
If the tumor has progressed and is very large in size, physicians may recommend radiation therapy to shrink the size of the tumor so that the lump is a size that is surgically operable. In other patients where the tumor has started spreading to other tissues, the patients may need to under chemotherapy as a follow-up to the surgery to make sure all the malignant cells have been eradicated. Patients with tumors in their arms or legs do not necessarily require amputation of the infected limb. Generally, only about 5% of such patients require amputation and so the prognosis is usually favorable and should not drastically affect the quality of life for the patient.
In some cases, the tumor cannot be treated by surgery and are may be unresectable either because of the tumor has developed into a metastatic liposarcoma or because the tumor has spread to internal organs such as your lungs. In such cases, patients can only be treated by a combination of chemotherapy and anti-cancer systemic therapy but such treatment options do not have as high a rate of success and remission as compared to surgery.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factor For Developing a Liposarcoma?
Liposarcomas can develop any place in the body, but are typically found in the limbs and the abdominal region. The cause of this cancer is still unknown. Exposure to certain toxic chemicals like dioxin, a family history of cancer, exposure to radiation therapy during treatment for another cancer, or damage to your lymphatic system may increase the risk of you developing this type of cancer.
A liposarcoma generally manifests as a hard lump that is visible beneath your skin. These are most often detected after the patient sustains a trauma or injury. However, trauma or injury are not generally considered a risk factor for developing liposarcoma.
How Are Liposarcomas Diagnosed?
If your physician suspects the presence of a liposarcoma, you will need a biopsy to investigate this. During a biopsy exam, a sample of your infected tissue is collected to be examined under a microscope for presence of cancerous growth by a pathologist. This sample can be collected either by a large needle and a syringe or surgically.
At times, investigations may reveal that this growth is non-cancerous and benign and so is actually a lipoma (non-serious medical condition).
If it is confirmed that you have liposarcoma, your physician may recommend other tests (such as ultrasound or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan), to determine the progression of the disease and the extent the cancer has spread in the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of a liposarcoma?
In most cases, liposarcoma kind of cancer does not cause symptoms early in the disease cycle. The most common symptom of liposcarcoma would be the actual physical lump that develops under your skin. It is only later as the liposarcoma stage progresses that this lump starts becoming painful and symptomatic. Some symptoms that patients may experience may include swelling or numbness in the lump area, blood found in their vomit, cramping or pain in their stomach or the presence of blood and tarry stools.
You should contact your physician if you have a physical lump anywhere on your body, especially if that lump is accompanied by any of the above clinical symptoms.