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Leiomyosarcoma, aka LMS, is a rare cancerous tumor that consists of smooth (involuntary) muscle cells, and accounts for between 5–10% of soft tissue sarcomas, which are in themselves relatively rare.
Smooth muscles are involuntary muscles that have no conscious control, and are found in most parts of the body and make up the involuntary muscles, including the uterus, stomach and intestines, the walls of all blood vessels, and the skin. It spreads through the blood stream and can affect the lungs, liver, blood vessels, or any other soft tissue in the body and it is therefore possible for leiomyosarcomas to appear at any site in the body. Leiomyosarcoma is commonly found in the uterus, stomach, small intestine and retroperitoneum (anatomical space (sometimes a potential space) in the abdominal cavity behind (retro) the peritoneum). Leiomyosarcomas can be very unpredictable. They can remain dormant for long periods of time and recur after years. It is a resistant cancer, meaning generally not very responsive to chemotherapy or radiation. The best outcomes occur when it can be removed surgically with wide margins early, while small and still in situ.
Exact Causes Of Leiomyosarcoma
The exact causes of leiomyosarcoma are not known, and research is ongoing to try to find out as much as possible about them. Very rarely, leiomyosarcoma may occur in an area that has previously been treated with radiotherapy for another type of cancer. The sarcoma won’t usually develop until about 10 years after the radiotherapy treatment. Exposure to some types of chemicals may increase the risk of developing some sarcomas. The chemicals include vinyl chloride (used for making plastics), some types of herbicides (weedkillers) and dioxins.
Signs and symptoms Of Leiomyosarcoma
Signs and symptoms of leiomyosarcoma may include:
- a lump or swelling
- abdominal discomfort or bloatedness
- swelling or pain in any area of the body
- bleeding from the vagina in women who have had the menopause, or a change in periods for women who have not yet had the menopause.
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