Sarcoma is a term used for cancer. And then, carcinoma is also cancer. Then, what is the need for two different terms? To understand this, we must first see what the difference between a carcinoma and a sarcoma is.
To start with, carcinomas are quite common whereas sarcomas are rare. The site of occurrence for both carcinoma and sarcoma is quite different too. Carcinoma is the term used when a cancerous growth forms in the tissue cells of internal organs like lungs, kidney etc. Sarcoma is the term used when a cancerous growth occurs in the body’s connective tissues. Connective tissues are our blood vessels, nerves, fat, bones muscles etc. Another major difference between the two is that a carcinoma is comparatively easier to treat than a sarcoma.
Talking more about sarcomas, a sarcoma is typically of two types- soft tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma.
Liposarcoma, as the name suggests, occurs in the fat cells of deep soft tissue. E.g. Inside the thigh. In pathological examination it looks just like a fat cell. They are large tumors and are fairly rare.
Liposarcoma should not be confused with a lipoma. A lipoma is a lump of fat tissue, usually situated just under the skin. Usually soft to touch they are quite painless and harmless. They feel movable too on palpation. They are generally non-cancerous and hence do not require any treatment other than for cosmetic purposes or to ascertain the histopathology of the tumor. But, this point is also not to be dismissed. As only after the tumor is removed, its true characteristics can be revealed.
What Are The Causes of Liposarcoma?
Generally, the causes of liposarcoma are unknown. Sometimes it is seen to be developing after an injury, when a hard lump may form at the site of the injury and then it turns into liposarcoma. However, injury is not considered as a risk factor or a cause for lipoma, as it is not necessary that the outcome of every injury will be a liposarcoma for sure. Some specialists surely believe that exposure to radiation to be a probable cause of liposarcoma, and they could be right, as we all are aware that radiation in general is quite harmful to the body as it may cause spontaneous mutation in the genes. Some consider family history to be a risk factor, especially those families which run a history of certain types of cancers. According to some others, an improper lymphatic system could also be one of the risk factors while some others put a doubt on an exposure to certain harmful chemicals.
As feared by many, lipomas are not known to cause or end up in liposarcomas.
Adults of age 40 years and above are most likely to suffer from this condition, though it can happen at any age.
The treatment and prognosis for liposarcoma both vary from person to person. It depends on a number of factors like the actual site of origin of the cancer and the type of the cancer. The size of the tumor, how deep it is situated in the body and how far the lymph nodes are located from the site of cancer are also key factors in determining the treatment and prognosis.
As with all other types of cancer, the treatment for liposarcoma consists of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy as a general protocol. The choice of treatment out of these three usually depends on the stage of cancer and also on the above-mentioned factors.
The recurrence of the liposarcoma and therefore the survival rate varies according to the subtype of the sarcoma, which is ascertained by the necessary histopathological examination.
The stage 4 liposarcoma, the ones that have progressed too far in the body (metastasis), are very rarely curable.
After the removal of the tumor, the person still has to be monitored lifelong for any possible chances of recurrence and the spread of liposarcoma to other parts of the body.