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 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.
Is Liposarcoma Malignant or Benign?
Liposarcoma is a cancer that spreads in the fatty connective tissue cells. It is often confused with Lipoma, which is similar in appearance but non-cancerous in nature.
The lumps formed in lipomas are generally soft to touch and if you press them with your fingertips they move around under the skin. These are also generally non-painful unless they are pressing against a nerve. Lipomas are always found in a particular location and they remain in that area without infecting other areas and so these are benign in nature. This indicates that this is not a serious medical condition and unless the lump is causing any particular discomfort to the patient, treatment is not needed and the patient can live a long healthy life without any complication.
In contrast, the lumps found in liposarcoma are generally larger in size and not as soft. When you press this lump with your fingertip, it will not move around under the skin surface. These tumors are rapidly growing in size and quickly progress from Stage 1 to Stage 4 generally in a rapid period of 5 years. These also spread and infect other tissues in the body and so they are malignant in nature and make this a serious medical condition, which could be life-threatening condition if not detected and treated early on in the disease cycle.
What Is The Cause Of Liposarcoma?
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. These tumors are most commonly seen in patients in their mid-life, between 50 and 65 years of age and they have a lower prevalence rate in children and young adults.
What Are The Different Types Of Liposarcomas?
Liposarcomas are generally categorized into five subtypes by the WHO (World Health Organization). The first type is called the well-differentiated or dedifferentiation liposarcoma, which accounts for nearly 50% of all types of sarcomas reported. This tumor is generally seen in the abdominal cavity or the limbs and is generally a less aggressive and painless kind of tumor.
The second type is called the myxoid liposarcoma and it resembles the mucus cells. The third type is called the round-cell liposarcoma, which is the most common kind of sarcoma seen in children and young adults. The myxoid and the round-cell type of sarcoma make up around 40% of all types of sarcomas reported. Both the tumors generally occur in the legs and have an increased risk of recurring in other soft tissue sites or even in bones (including the spine or the pelvis).
The fourth type of sarcoma is the pleomorphic sarcoma and here the cancerous cells appear different in both their shape and size. These tumors are typically found in the limbs but are known to spread to sites in the body such as lungs or other soft tissues. This is an aggressive form of the liposarcoma, but is rare in its occurrence and only accounts for about 5% to 10% of sarcomas reported. The last and fifth type of sarcoma is called the mixed-type liposarcoma and is a form of high grade sarcoma that has an increased risk of metastasizing.