Rare Diseases 2022

Liposarcoma: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Liposarcoma: what é, symptoms and treatment
Liposarcoma: what é, symptoms and treatment

Liposarcoma is a rare tumor that starts in the fatty tissue of the body, but can easily spread to other soft parts, such as muscles and skin. Because it is very easy to reappear in the same place, even after being removed, or spreading to other places, this type of cancer is considered malignant.

Although it can appear on any part of the body that has a layer of fat, liposarcoma is more common on the arms, legs or abdomen, and occurs mainly in older people.

As it is a malignant cancer, liposarcoma must be identified as early as possible so that the treatment has a greater chance of success. Treatment may involve removing the tumor through surgery, as well as a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

Symptoms of Liposarcoma

Signs and symptoms of liposarcoma may vary according to the affected site:

1. On arms and legs

  • Appearance of a lump under the skin;
  • Pain or aching sensation in the region of the lump;
  • Swelling somewhere in the leg or arm;
  • Feeling weak when moving the affected limb.

2. On the abdomen

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort;
  • Swelling in the belly;
  • Stomach feeling full after eating;
  • Constipation;
  • Blood in the stool.

Whenever there is any change in the arms, legs or abdomen that takes more than 1 week to disappear, it is very important to consult a general practitioner, who will evaluate the case and understand if it is necessary to refer to another medical speci alty.

How to confirm the diagnosis

After evaluating the signs and symptoms, it is common for the doctor to order other tests to identify the possibility of liposarcoma. The most used exams are computed tomography, as well as magnetic resonance.

If the result continues to support the hypothesis that it is a liposarcoma, the doctor usually asks for a biopsy, in which a piece of tissue, taken from the site of the nodule, is sent for analysis in the laboratory, where it can be confirmed the presence of cancer, as well as identifying the specific type of liposarcoma, to help with treatment adequacy.

Main types of liposarcoma

There are 4 main types of liposarcoma:

  • Well-differentiated liposarcoma: this is the most common type and usually grows slowly, making it more difficult to spread to other sites;
  • Myxoid and/or round liposarcoma: it is the second most frequent type, but it grows faster and can spread to other parts of the body, forming a differentiated pattern with its cells;
  • Dedifferentiated Liposarcoma: It grows rapidly and is most common in the arms or legs;
  • Pleomorphic liposarcoma: This is the rarest type and spreads the fastest through the body.

After identifying the type of liposarcoma, as well as its stage of evolution, the doctor can better adapt the treatment, increasing the chances of cure, especially if the cancer is at an earlier stage.

How the treatment is done

The treatment used may vary according to the affected site, as well as the phase of evolution of the liposarcoma, however, it is relatively common that the first approach is performed with surgery to try to remove as many cancer cells as possible.

However, as it is often difficult to remove all the cancer with surgery alone, your doctor may advise you to undergo radiation or chemotherapy sessions.

Sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also be done before surgery to reduce the size of the cancer and make it easier to remove.

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