What is a Liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma. This type of cancer affects the fat cells in your body and it occurs when the fat cells start multiplying rapidly. Physically these appear as a lump of tissue, which is most commonly found in the limbs and abdomen. This type of cancerous growth however should not be confused with benign non-cancerous lumps found in the body called lipomas.

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What is a Lipoma?

Lipoma is a lump of fatty cells that has grown between your skin and the muscle layer beneath it. These cells are non-cancerous and are slow-growing. These are located in just one part of your part and so they are always benign although an individual may have more than one lipoma in their body.

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Is It Lipoma or Liposarcoma?

Is there a way to differentiate a lipoma from a liposarcoma? There are several ways in which a patient can differentiate a lump of fatty tissue from a serious condition like a liposarcoma to a relatively harmless condition like the lipoma. In general, liposarcoma is a disease while lipoma is just a disorder. Other differentiators include the age group in which this is developed, the genetic predisposition to the development of the lump, the nature and size of the lump developed and the location and the nature of symptoms associated with the lump development.

Is There Any Genetic Predisposition Seen In The Patients Affected By Lipomas and Liposarcoma?

There is no clear cause identified for either of the diseases; however, lipomas have been known to have a strong genetic connection. Lipomas tend to run in the families and so the probability of developing one increases if other members in your family have also previously been diagnosed.

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Is There A Difference In The Nature And The Size Of The Lumpy Tissue Seen In The Patients Affected By Lipomas Versus Liposarcomas?

The lumpy tissues found in a lipoma are usually located anywhere in your body and are right below the skin surface. These are soft to touch, don’t grow so rapidly and easily move when you press them around with your fingertips. The size of these lumps is mostly small and less than 2 inches in diameter. In contrast, liposarcomas are usually found in the abdomen and limbs and these can be located deeper under the skin surface compared to the lymphomas. The lumps seen in liposarcoma are not as soft to touch and will not move under your skin when you press them with your fingers.

Is There A Difference In The Nature Of Symptoms Observed In The Patients Affected By Lymphomas Versus Lymphosarcoma?

Lipoma lumps are generally not painful unless they are pressing a nerve. However, the lumps in liposarcoma are almost always painful due to rapidly growing size of the lumps. At times, based on the location of the lump, the patients have been known to complain of feeling full early on when eating (when the lump is present in the abdominal area) or having difficulty breathing (when the lump is present on the lung area). Lipoma lumps generally are not associated with any such symptoms.

What Are Some Of The Treatment Options For Lipomas Versus Liposarcoma?

Limpomas do not require medical treatment unless the lump is bothersome to the patient or it is growing in size and pressing against a nerve. In such cases, your physician may recommend surgical removal of the lump using a technique called minimal excision extraction or he may recommend liposuction where the fatty lump will be sucked out using a large syringe. These techniques are generally associated with minimal scarring. On the other hand, liposarcomas are cancerous lumps of tissues and their treatment is not as straightforward. Here the treatment plan depends on the stage of disease detection and the location of the lump. Based on these factors, your physician may recommend you to undergo surgery, chemotherapy, anti-cancer systemic therapy or a combination of these.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 10, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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