Liposarcoma is one of the rarest of the cancers. It is a cancer of the fat tissue. When seen pathologically, it looks just like fat cells. Out of the two major types of sarcoma, (the soft tissue sarcoma and the osteosarcoma- that is, sarcoma of the bones); liposarcoma is a soft tissue sarcoma. Also, a liposarcoma should never be confused with a lipoma. Lipomas are non-cancerous tumors of the fat cells. Furthermore, it is to be noted that Lipomas do not get converted into liposarcomas. Only in rarest of the rare situations this may happen. Liposarcomas emerge from a new tumor altogether.
What You Need To Know About Lipomas?
So, what does the liposarcoma feel like? Well, the signs and symptoms usually depend upon the site of the cancer. Also, the symptoms depend upon how far the cancer has progressed in the body. As a person does not feel any discomfort initially, it is only very late that the signs and symptoms are noticed by the person. By then, usually the cancer spreads quite far in the body. Some of the symptoms and signs that may be noticed in liposarcoma are a painful bulge or lump under the skin. There can be growth in this lump. If it is quite big, then some underlying vessels or nerves may be compressed which can result in other severe symptoms like lack of blood circulation or numbness or tingling sensation. At times, there may be severe pain due to the compression of an underlying nerve because of the tumor. If the site of liposarcoma is one of the limbs, then there may be varicose veins, or even some weakness can be felt while using that limb.
If the site of the liposarcoma is the abdomen, then there can be abnormal weight gain, and it is very difficult to diagnose as it seems like the tummy itself is bulging due to the weight. There can be other symptoms related to digestion, if the concerned organs are compressed, like there can be constipation or loose motions. There can be bleeding in stools. There can be urinary problems, or kidney dysfunction, if the tumor has enlarged enough to spread up to these organs. As a result, there could be vomiting and other related symptoms. There can be stomach pain too.
In short, the signs and symptoms will largely depend on the site of the start of the tumor and will be related to the organs affected due to the growing tumor, and not only due to the tumor as such. And unfortunately, this happens only when the tumor has progressed too much, to hinder the normal functioning of other organs. Before that, it is quite difficult to confirm a tumor, as the tumor itself rarely causes any signs or symptoms.
Once the liposarcoma is confirmed, the oncologist will then classify it into one of the four major types of liposarcomas. The treatment will be decided accordingly.
Some liposarcomas grow very slowly and can be easily removed with surgery and the chances of recovery are good thereafter. But, there is always a chance of recurrence and there lies the risk of the cancer spreading in the other parts of the body. The fast growing liposarcomas are difficult to remove only through surgery, and hence there may be a need to pair it up with radiation therapy and /or chemotherapy. Also, the survival rate in such cases is very low.
Sarcomas themselves are very rare compared to carcinomas. And Liposarcoma is one of the rarest of rare cancers. And that makes it even more difficult to treat. So does the diagnosis of the disease in usually only the later stages of progression. Early detection is the key in a good recovery from any disease. Hence, any abnormal changes, growths or swellings in any parts of the body should never be dismissed and proper medical care should be availed on time.