What is Leiomyosarcoma?
Leiomyosarcoma is a cancer that originates from tissues such as the nerves, arteries and veins, muscles, and other soft tissues in our body. Leiosarcoma is rare, and commonly affects people over age 50. They affect different parts of our body, but many patients that are affected with Leiomyosarcoma have tumors in the smooth muscles of the body. Smooth muscles are found in areas in our body where we have no control of like the stomach, and blood vessels.
Leiomyosarcoma in the Soft Tissues of the Ear
This condition does not have symptoms in its early stages; in this case, this condition is diagnosed after the appearance of the symptoms. I have listed down the symptoms of Leiomyosarcoma.
- Abdominal Distress – This can be present if the tumor is located in an area near the abdomen such as the stomach, intestines and other organs located in the abdomen.
- Fever – Although this is a general defense mechanism that our body use against systemic infection and other foreign bodies, this can be present in a patient with Leiomyosarcoma. Please note that this can also be associated with other disease that is why fever is not a definitive symptom of Leimyosarcoma.
- Pain – This will be present, this is a general defense mechanism of the body to alert the person that there is something bad that is going on inside the body. Please take note that this is not a definitive symptom of Leiomyosarcoma because this can be caused by many other medical conditions.
- Lump – A visible lump signify a superficial tumor. However, tumors can be deep within the body so the lump is not visible.
Causes of Leiomyosarcoma
The exact reason that causes Leiomyosarcoma remains unclear as of this day, but researchers still do their best to reveal more information about this condition. I will list down other factors that were associated with Leiomyosarcoma.
- Smoking – This is included in our risk factors because most of cancers are induced by smoking. Smoking is very bad to our health, I suggest that if you want to have a healthy life, stop smoking.
- Radiation – Radiation causes mutation of the cells and it will be the cause of cancer.
- Chemical Exposure – There are some chemicals that are associated with this condition. Chemicals such as herbicides and plastic making chemicals are associated with the disease.
Diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma
As I have stated earlier, the symptoms comes first before the diagnosis. If the symptoms occur, there are chances where the tumor has spread and impede the normal functions of our body already. An expert advice is needed and a series of exams are necessary. There are a lot of exams needed to rule out the diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma.
- Endoscopy – This is to check if the tumor is located along the upper Gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This procedure can also get some samples (biopsy) from the tumor if it is located along the upper GI tract.
- Hysteroscopy – This is to check if the tumor is located along the reproductive organ of the female gender.
- Advanced Imaging Tests – This includes MRI and CT scan, they are both specialized imaging test that is used to scan the tumor deeper. Also, it can produce a detailed result on the status of the tumor. And after the treatment, this can also be ordered to know if the treatment is successful.
- Biopsy – Biopsy will be used to extract specimens from the tumor. The type of biopsy will be needed will depend on the location of the tumor, and biopsy may be combined with other diagnostic exams to increase the diagnosis’ efficiency.
Treatment of Leiomyosarcoma
The main treatment course is surgery, this is to remove the tumor and to also relieve the complications that are caused by the tumor. (e.g. pressure to the liver which may cause loss of appetite)
This therapy is used to kill cancer cells. This is used mainly to kill the remnant cancer cells that are left behind by the surgery. For patients that are not able to undergo surgery, this can be an option for them.
This is also to kill the remnant cancer cells left behind the surgery.
Prognosis and Survival Rate
The prognosis of leiomyosarcoma depends on the stage of the cancer, the grade of the tumor and the general health of the patient. When it comes to general health, people aged more than 62 years and had previous intralesional surgery has poorer prognosis. Those who have a more extensive stage and grade of cancer have also the poorest prognosis because it already involves metastasis to other areas of the body. The most common metastatic site of Leiomyosarcoma are the lungs and the liver because of a large network of blood and lymph.
The 5 year survival rate of Leiomyosarcoma depends upon the stage. The following table summarizes the 5-year survival rates of patients according to stage:
Despite these high survival rates within 5 years, the percentage of death from Leiomyosarcoma after some time is also high with an average of 85.5% of patients. Looking into this, it can be concluded that Leiomyosarcoma has higher death rates compared to other types of cancers such as breast cancer. Leiomyosarcoma of the soft tissues is actually one of the most aggressive soft tissue cancers causing its high mortality rates.
Staging of Leiomyosarcoma
The tumour is low-grade and small (less than 5cm [2in]). It can be near the surface of the body (superficial) or deep within the body, but with no sign that it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
The tumour is low-grade and large (more than 5cm [2in]). It is superficial with no sign it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
The tumour is low-grade and large (more than 5cm [2in]). It is deep within the body, but has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
The tumour is high-grade and small (less than 5cm [2in]). It can be near the surface of the body or deep within the body, but has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
The tumour is high-grade, large, (more than 5cm [2in]) and superficial, but has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
The tumour is high-grade, large (more than 5cm [2in]) and deep, but has not spread.
The tumour has spread to lymph nodes in the area or to any other part of the body. This is known as secondary or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
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