A hemangioma is a type of noncancerous (benign) tumor that comprises blood vessels. These cancers are of various types and can affect any part of the body. For instance, it can affect all internal organs, bones, muscles as well as skin.
Furthermore, most hemangiomas either occur on the surface of the skin or occur beneath it. These cancers may vary in shape, size, and color, and they develop on the neck and face usually.
Usually, hemangiomas do not need any treatment as they are rarely cancerous. However, sometimes they can cause disfigurement. In that case, patients may turn to doctors for cosmetic solutions.
Furthermore, surgery is not as common as in other cancers. There are only certain instances where surgery is necessary. These include cases where a tumor is deep into the bone or muscle. Besides, if the tumors on the skin cause problem with breathing, vision, or eating, at that time, surgery becomes quite helpful.
Hemangiomas are of various types like Capillary hemangioma (the most common one), Cavernous hemangioma, Cavernous hemangioma, Lobular capillary hemangioma (pyogenic granuloma), Infantile Hemangioma, etc.
There are different reasons for different kinds of hemangiomas. However, it is exactly not clear what leads to these cancers. For instance, errors in the development of the vascular system resulting in infantile hemangiomas. This usually occurs during fetal development.
However, in several cases, it is not clear what causes the error. Furthermore, certain hemangiomas occur after an injury. However, it is not clear also whether an injury has a link to cancer.
Similarly, some hemangiomas come and go with the pregnancy. Certain genetic abnormalities, for example, cavernous hemangiomas in von Hippel-Lindau disease also cause genetic abnormalities.
Besides, there is no clear connection between some other risk factors and the development of hemangiomas. These risk factors include exposure to chemicals or radiation or any particular occupation.
Similarly, in an infant, no medication, no activity, or any known food has a link to hemangiomas during pregnancy.
Hemangiomas, which are red or blue colored lesions on the lips, skin, and inside the mouth are usually painless. They feel soft when you touch them. Usually, they have a slight elevation or are flush with the skin.
However, they can grow from a stalk as well. The lesions that are present on the surface may turn into sores. If an injury occurs, it may increase the chance of tumor.
Moreover, hemangiomas that are present deep in the muscles may become worse. They may cause swelling around the hemangioma and pain. This pain may increase with the activity.
Similarly, if a hemangioma is present in a bone, it causes pain. This can further lead to the enlargement of the bone.
Most often, you may confuse your hemangioma with a vascular malfunction. Depending upon the type of lesion, treatment may vary from person to person.
Medical History and Physical Examination.
Your doctor will ask you several questions before a physical examination. He/she will ask about your general health and symptoms. Your doctor may ask you about the history of the lesion as well as your family history.
After that, your healthcare provider will physically examine your body. He/she may inspect the tumor mass, its location, how it feels, and the skin changes in the area. If your doctor expects something like a tumor, he/she is going to order other tests.
Tests. Imaging tests can help your doctor to identify the tumor in a better way. Although he/she can detect it based on physical examination and medical history, tests confirm the diagnosis.
X-rays and computerized tomography (CT) scans.
These tests are good for creating images of hard structures in the body like bones. However, if calcifications called phleboliths are present in the hemangioma, these tests could be helpful.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
These scans are helpful as they form images of soft structures such as hemangioma. In an MRI, a hemangioma is described as a “bag of worms”. This is because the blood vessels appear as a pack around each other.
Angiogram. In this procedure, a specialist injects special dyes into the bloodstream. This makes the hemangioma visible in an X-ray image.
Biopsy. Most often, it becomes difficult to differentiate hemangiomas and other tumors. At that time, a biopsy helps confirm a hemangioma. In these tests, your doctor removes a small sample of cancer tissue and examines it under a microscope. This helps to detect a tumor and also the subtype of it.
Furthermore, during a biopsy, to numb the particular area, your doctor may give you a local anesthetic. Your doctor may perform it as a small surgery.
Blood tests. For genetic analysis, your doctor may order blood tests. This is usually helpful when you have multiple tumors or the symptoms concern you more.
Various tissue and imaging tests will help your doctor to differentiate hemangioma from other types of malformations. Therefore, to treat a hemangioma effectively, it becomes quite important to distinguish between the different medical conditions.
Depending on the type of hemangioma that you have, your treatment may vary.
Observation. A hemangioma does not require treatment usually, however it becomes necessary to regularly monitor your tumor. This way your doctor can keep an eye for changes in the tumor.
Beta-blocker medication. Your doctor may recommend these medications depending upon the size and type of hemangioma. Furthermore, in certain cases like that of superficial and infantile hemangiomas, your doctor may give you these medications orally. They help slow down the growth of your tumor.
Anti-inflammatory medication. In certain cases, if the hemangioma is growing near the lips, nose, or eyelids, your doctor may inject some steroid medications. Your healthcare provider may directly inject the drugs into your hemangioma.
Compression. In this method, our doctor applies pressure to the area of the tumor. Although it doesn’t help treat the hemangioma, however, it helps decrease the swelling.
Embolization. In this technique, the tumor isn’t able to receive the blood supply. Here, your blood vessels get the small particles by injection which blocks the blood vessels. Besides, this is not much invasive procedure.
These procedures decrease the pain by shrinking the tumor. However, after some time, the tumor may regrow. Furthermore, your doctor may try embolization before surgery to reduce the blood flow.
Laser treatment. In some cases, the laser becomes an effective tool to remove the tumor. This relates the tumor to other treatments and helps decrease the pain and certain other symptoms.
You may need multiple treatments depending on the size of the tumor and its location. Mainly the cancers on the skin typically respond well to this treatment.
Surgical Treatment. If the lesion is painful and destroys the healthy tissues, your doctor may recommend surgery. Furthermore, in certain cases, surgical treatment becomes necessary when cancer is painful.
Your surgeon will remove your hemangioma by a process called excision. Before the main procedure, your doctor gives you general anesthesia. Then, he/she creates an incision in your area of the tumor to remove it.
Recovery. After surgery, your doctor will remove the stitches after some weeks. Thus, your doctor will cover your wound with a bandage. He/she will give you specific instructions about the activities that you should and shouldn’t do. This will be a good guide for your recovery.
Coping and support
When you get diagnosed with hemangioma, it could be frightening for you. The condition will be no different for your family.
However, you may learn to cope with the uncertainty and distress related to cancer with time. Thus, you need to follow these instructions until then;
Call on for medical support:
Various things are going to help you. For instance, the knowledge and understanding of a medical social worker, or any other mental health professional is necessary. They will help you in understanding your cancer.
Furthermore, if your child or other family member suffers from cancer, you need to ask health care professionals for advice. They will provide you with options for medical health support. This will also provide you with emotional and social support.
In addition to this, you can check various online services that will provide you support to combat cancer.
- Gain more knowledge about hemangiomato make decisionsabout control and care:
Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to hemangioma. Little knowledge is dangerous. Therefore, more confidence in understanding and making decisions about treatment options will be there with you. So you should always learn more about the disease.
Ask the health care team for guidance if your child has cancer. Therefore, get more and more information for appropriately caring for the patient.
Be close to your friends and family:
A close and strong relationship with your family and friends is necessary. It will help you deal with hemangioma.
You need practical support, moral support from your friends and relatives. Thus, someone should be there for you to look after the family. Emotional support from them is going to matter most. Thus, a healthy and happy person will ultimately efficiently fight the disease.
Prepare for your appointment
You are likely to start making an appointment with your primary care doctor if some signs and symptoms worry you. Ask for a referral to an experienced specialist if your doctor suspects hemangioma.
A team of specialists typically can treat. For instance;
Tumor surgeons who have specialization in operating soft tissue cancers.
Doctors who have a specialization in treating cancers with systemic medications or chemotherapy.
Pathologists diagnose the specific type of cancer by analyzing a tissue.
Rehabilitation specialists who after surgery help in the recovery of a tumor.
What you should expect from your doctor:
You will face several questions from your doctor. Thus, you should be ready to answer these. So, give more time to your doctor to address them. Your doctor may ask;
What signs and symptoms concern you more?
Have your symptoms been occasional or continuous?
When did you start to notice the symptoms?
The severity of your symptoms?
Is there anything that improves your symptoms?
Is there anything that worsens your symptoms?
Do you have any family or personal history of cancer?