Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is an aggressive, rare type of cancer that develops in smooth, involuntary muscles. Smooth muscles are different from skeletal muscles and can be found in several regions of the system including the urinary system, digestive system, uterus, and blood vessels. This type is considered a soft tissue sarcoma. Leiomyosarcoma affects both men and women over the age of 50, but it is more common in women.
Types Of Leiomyosarcoma
There are three different types of leiomyosarcoma, which include:
Somatic soft tissue LMS affects the body’s connective tissue and it’s the most common form of LMS.
Cutaneous or subcutaneous LMS affects the piloerector muscles in the skin, these muscles are located in the skin and eyes, and are responsible for goosebumps actions and making pupils dilate.
LMS of a vascular origin is the rarest type and develops in main blood vessels like the pulmonary artery, inferior vena cava or peripheral arteries.
As it is aggressive it grows very rapidly and can double in size in less than a month. Hence, prompt treatment is essential.
What’s The Difference Between Leiomyosarcoma And Leiomyoma?
Leiomyomas are non-cancerous fibroids that develop in smooth muscles. Though it can be problematic, leiomyomas don’t spread to other regions of the body. However, leiomyosarcomas are cancerous and can spread throughout the body.
Symptoms Of Leiomyosarcoma
Generally, people may exhibit different symptoms based on how big the tumour is and where it’s located. While some may not notice any symptoms early on but may observe certain signs as the tumour grow like
- Abdominal bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- A lump under your skin
If Leiomyosarcoma is found in the digestive system, then symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Poor appetite
- Blood in the stools
Uterine leiomyosarcoma can cause:
- Vaginal discharge
- Frequent urination
- Abnormal vaginal
Causes Of Leiomyosarcoma
The exact cause of leiomyosarcoma is still not clear. However, medical experts believe that it could be hereditary or if your genes get mutated causing the cells to grow out of control. Further, leiomyosarcoma may also develop due to
Past radiation therapy
Exposure to certain chemicals, and pesticides
Leiomyosarcoma usually travels through your bloodstream and cancer can then spread to any soft tissue in the system including your lungs.
The physician will ask about the person’s symptoms and past medical history. Also, the doctor may suggest a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, where a sample of tissue is taken from the tumour with a needle or a small incision. The sample is then sent to the lab and tested to see if it’s cancerous. Some of the other tests suggested by the healthcare provider to monitor where exactly the tumour is located and how big it’s grown include:
CT (computed tomography) scan: In this test, images are taken from different angles and then aligned together to get more information.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Strong magnets and radio waves are used to get a complete picture of organs and other parts of your body.
Ultrasound: Sound waves are used to get images inside the system.
The results of these tests will support the doctor to plan an effective treatment option.
The treatment of Leiomyosarcoma usually depends on the location and size of the tumour. The doctor may suggest:
Surgery: It is one of the best possible treatment options for leiomyosarcoma. The main goal is to remove the whole tumour so that cancer doesn’t return.
It is mostly suggested when the tumour is too large, or when cancer cells have spread to other regions of the body.