Leiomyosarcoma is a cancer of smooth muscle tissues of the body. It is a very rare cancer that usually affects the abdomen. However, they can affect any part of the body, including the uterus. Moreover, blood vessels and skin are some other places where they develop.
Abdominal leiomyosarcoma tumors are about 10 centimeters in size. A person suffering from leiomyosarcoma shows symptoms like pain, nausea, vomiting, and pain.
Leiomyosarcoma tends to attack large blood vessels in the body. For instance, it particularly affects the vein called inferior vena cava, carrying blood from the lower portion of the body back to the heart itself. It also affects the pulmonary artery, which has the function of carrying blood from the heart to the lungs.
It is not clear what leads to leiomyosarcoma. However, there occur some genetic changes which lead to the continuous growth of cells, forming a tumor.
Moreover, you might develop these changes by yourself or you might get these genes from your parents. Besides, some chemicals can also cause these genetic changes.
Furthermore, people who are above age 50 are more prone to develop this cancer. Some individuals may even develop this cancer after they had received the radiation years ago.
Besides, several risk factors that increase your chance of developing a leiomyosarcoma, which include:
Vinyl chloride is an important constituent of plastic.
Dioxins, which are a by-product of companies making paper and pesticides.
Depending upon the size and location of a tumor, you can develop several signs and symptoms. However, some individuals have no apparent symptoms. However, if you experience signs and symptoms, then, you should call your doctor immediately. The main symptoms include:
Bloating in your abdomen
Vomiting and Nausea
If the LMS is present in your stomach, then you may have:
Stool is black-colored
If the LMS is in your uterus, then
Bleeding, other than a menstrual period from your vagina, occurs
More frequent urination.
Before ordering the imaging tests, your doctor will try to know more about your signs and symptoms. He/she will ask you about the symptoms that you experience and your medical history. The main tests include:
Biopsy. This is a very accurate method that helps your doctor to detect cancer. He/she will make a small cut or insert a needle. Then, he/she will take a small portion of your cancerous tissue and examine it under a microscope.
In addition to this, your doctor may order several imaging tests to know more about the tumor. They help in finding the actual size and location of your tumor. These imaging tests include:
CT (computed tomography) scan. This method utilizes X-rays, which take the images of your tumor from many angles. This gives your doctor more details about the tumor.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This method uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make clear pictures of various organs. Thus, it provides more information about various aspects of your tumor.
Ultrasound. To make the images of your Leiomyosarcoma, this method uses sound waves. This test enables your doctor to make images of the visceral organs of your body. Accordingly, he/she can plan treatment.
There are several factors on which your treatment option will depend. These are:
- The location of the tumor
- Where it has spread
- How quickly it is spreading
- Your health and age
The most common form of treatment for your LMS is surgery. Your doctor will try to remove all of the tumors at one. He/she is going to remove a small part of healthy tissue as well.
Similarly, women with LMS in the uterus will also need surgery. A surgeon may remove the whole or part of the uterus. If cancer spreads to fallopian tubes and ovaries also, a surgeon may also remove these.
Several other treatments for LMS include:
Radiation therapy. In this treatment option, your doctor uses high-energy X-rays to kill the tumor cells. This stops the growth of tumors. In this manner, your doctor can shrink the size of the tumor.
Chemotherapy. In this method, your healthcare provider uses specific medicines to kill the tumor cells. In case your cancer has spread to other organs or comes back again, your doctor may give you chemotherapy. In chemotherapy, you may get a combination of 2 or more 2 drugs.
After your doctor treats the LMS, he/she may order regular check-ups. In case your cancer shows recurrence, your doctor may again use surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Besides, researchers are looking for new modes of treating leiomyosarcoma. Clinical trials are going on, which are testing new drugs. They are looking if other similar drugs are safe and if they work.
These trials are not available for every patient as researchers try to figure out whether the medicine works or not. Thus, your doctor can form you whether a particular trial is beneficial for you or not.
Coping and support
When you get diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, 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 leiomyosarcoma to make decisionsabout control and care:
Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to leiomyosarcoma. 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 leiomyosarcoma.
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 leiomyosarcoma.
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?