Myxofibrosarcoma is a form of cancer that affects your arms and legs. It usually grows very slowly as a lump on these organs. Moreover, cancer usually affects individuals of higher age.
An age group of 50 to 70 is more prone to myxofibrosarcoma. Additionally, males have higher chances of developing this tumor than males. It is a soft tissue sarcoma that means it affects the soft tissues of the body like muscles.
Researchers do not know much about the myxofibrosarcoma as much as they know about other sarcomas. Moreover, people often confuse it with a benign tumor.
Thus, the removal of the tumor surgically is not the final answer to treat this. Thus, the chances of timely treatment become low. Moreover, myxofibrosarcomas show recurrence in the same area where they start.
Like other soft tissue sarcomas, the exact cause is for the myxofibrosarcoma is not known. However, as per the researchers, various risk factors increase your chances of soft tissue tumors like myxofibrosarcoma.
But, one thing that researchers know is that the cells develop some genetic changes. Every cell has some specific function.
But, when the changes in genes occur, the cells are not able to work normally. They start dividing again and again in an abnormal fashion. This is what leads to cancer.
Myxofibrosarcoma, which is a soft tissue sarcoma, develops in the connective tissue. It affects the muscles, thereby separating the muscles from the skin and each other. A Myxofibrosarcoma may be present deep into the muscle or just below the skin.
In the early stages, myxofibrosarcoma does not cause any signs and symptoms. However as the tumor grows, it may cause several noticeable symptoms.
Swelling in the area of the tumor
A noticeable lump can be seen at the site of the tumor
You may develop pain when the tumor presses on muscles and nerves.
It could be challenging to diagnose a myxofibrosarcoma. The tumor may appear only as a small growth near the surface. But, it may already grow deep to the tissues, around the base of the growth.
Therefore, it becomes highly difficult to detect the tumor. Even using modern imaging techniques, the detection may not be easy.
But, before going for the main tests, your doctor may examine your body physically. He/she will look for several signs that appear in myxofibrosarcoma. Various signs that may be helpful include:
The tumor is larger than the size of a ball.
The tumor gets larger with the time
It is present deep into the skin, rather positioning itself under the skin alone
After checking the physical signs and symptoms, your doctor will order various imaging tests which include:
Magnetic resonance imaging. This test gives information about the soft tissues of the body. As the myxofibrosarcoma is also a soft tissue tumor, it will help your doctor understand the tumor in a better way.
Core needle biopsy. If your doctor detects the myxofibrosarcoma, he/she is going to order for other tests. In that matter, a chest X-ray is a beneficial one.
These tests will help your doctor to find out if the tumor has spread to your lungs. This is because the lungs are a favorable site for the myxofibrosarcoma to metastasize.
Treatment for myxofibrosarcoma depends upon various characteristics. It usually depends on:
Depth. It is because the myxofibrosarcoma becomes more aggressive when present between the different layers of muscle.
Size. Tumors that are larger need more extensive surgery. Sometimes, an additional treatment option like chemotherapy or radiation therapy may help treat the tumor.
Grade. Depending on the stage of the tumor, your doctor may employ a different strategy to cure your tumor. For instance, myxofibrosarcoma of a low grade shows the accumulation of inactive cells, with no dead cells.
Similarly, a myxofibrosarcoma of an intermediate grade shows a high number of actively dividing cells. A high-grade tumor shows a large number of dead cells, along with actively dividing cells. High-grade tumors are highly aggressive than prior ones.
Your doctor may go for surgery to remove the tumor, along with a margin of healthy tissue around. Besides, the extent of surgery depends upon the tumor characteristics and the size of the tumor. Usually, radiation therapy after and before surgery gives better results.
For a small low-grade tumor, surgery may be sufficient to control the tumor while for an intermediate tumor, radiation therapy before the main surgery makes it easier for your doctor to identify the tumor borders.
After the surgery, your doctor might continue the radiation therapies as a treatment mechanism. This helps in the quick recovery of a patient.
Similar to radiation therapy, the role of chemotherapy is the same. Your doctor might use it before and after the surgery. This gives you a chance of recovering quickly and killing all the tumor cells. In the last, doctors usually would go for amputation (cutting of the limbs).
However, with the advancement of several therapies, doctors try to preserve your limbs. They try their best to use some alternate procedures to treat your myxofibrosarcoma and save your limbs.
Coping and support
When you get diagnosed with myxofibrosarcoma, 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 myxofibrosarcoma to make decisionsabout control and care:
Ask your doctor about various treatment options related to myxofibrosarcoma. 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 myxofibrosarcoma.
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 myxofibrosarcoma.
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?