Leiomyosarcoma LMS is a type of sarcoma, a tumor the starts in the bone or muscles. This malignant lesion occurs in the retroperitoneum (abdomen) or the inferior vena cava (vein that runs from the mid and lower body to the heart).
It can spread throughout the blood stream to affect the liver, lungs, or blood vessles themselves, it can also develop in any other soft tissue in the body.
Since it is most commonly reported in the stomach, arms and legs, small intestines, and the uterus, woman are at a higher risk of developing the condition by a ratio of 2:1.
Since LMS develops in the soft tissues of the body, and has the ability to spread to almost any other area, the signs and symptoms can vary greatly depending on the size of the tumor, as well as surrounding areas that may be affected. In addition to be being exceptionally rare, some patients may not experience any symptoms for a certain period of time, which can make early diagnosis difficult, and affect the best possible prognosis.
Similar to other types of cancer, LMS, typically causes the follow symptoms:
In cases where LMS is present in the stomach or intestines, patients commonly experience symptoms such as:
LMS in your uterus can cause:
As mentioned, leiomyosarcoma can be highly aggressive, however survival rates are much better when it’s diagnosed early. Prognosis also remains much more positive if the LMS is contained to one part of the body. Treatments will vary depending on where, and at what stage the tumor has reached. The current size, how fast it’s growing and spreading will all contribute to the decision of what treatment/medication/procedures to employ.
The most effective and common treatment for LMS is surgical removal of the tumor, also known as resection or excision. For women who develop the cancer in their uterus, surgery may also be performed to remove the organ. In cases where LMS tumors are successfully removed, patients can expect to live around 4-6 years following surgery.
In addition, doctors may perform radiation therapy; to shrink tumor growth, and/or Chemotherapy: administer medication to kill cancer cells. Similary to surgery, in case where tumor is destroyed patients live an average of 5 years following complete remission.
LMS is as persistent as it is aggressive, and as a result, commonly reoccurs, locally, regionally, and/or distantly, even if the initial tumor is successfully removed.
For this reason regular checkups will be required. If reoccurrence is detected, quick action will be take to treat the patient with further surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Maintaining overall general health can also help improve lifestyle. Eating healthily, being active, sleeping enough, and being social with those you feel comfortable around does not only do wonders for your mental state, it can also improve your metabolism and immune system naturally.
Symptoms of LMS are similar to many other cancers. This can often include:
The exact cause behind LMS is unknown, however it is thought that genetic factors and environmental risks such as exposure to radiation, as well as previous viral infections, play a major role in the spontaneous development of the condition.
The 5 year survival rates for patients with LMS are:
– Localized (where no sign of cancer spread outside original site): 63%
– Regional (cancer spread some, but not farther than original site): 36%
– Distant (cancer has spread to other parts of the body): 14%
Despite being a rare form of cancer leiomyosarcoma LMS is one of the more common subtypes of sarcoma, in adults, with and an estimated incidence of 1 in 100,000 people per year.
Patient Organizations and Advocacy Groups. Trusted organization such as Orphanet provide high quality, accurate data sets developed to provide important information and up-to-date research on rare diseases, treatments and other useful information.
The organization provides helpful info on Patient Organizations for LMS worldwide. Click the link to browse over 90 groups set up around the world, speficially with the goal of helping those living with, or caring for those suffering from, the condition.
In addition, there are number of other groups that can help assist those living with LMS. The National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation has great patient resources regarding diagnosis and treatment, as well as research and projects you can participate in. Futhermore, you may also find useful advice and information on LMS from the follow organisations: