Learn about diagnosis and treatment options for this type of soft tissue sarcoma that forms from fat cells.
Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer that begins in the fat cells. Liposarcoma is considered a type of soft tissue sarcoma.
Liposarcoma can occur in fat cells in any part of the body, but most cases occur in the muscles of the limbs or in the abdomen. Liposarcoma occurs most often in older adults, though it can occur at any age.
Treatment for liposarcoma typically involves surgery to remove the cancer. Other treatments, such as radiation therapy, also may be used.
Liposarcoma signs and symptoms vary depending on the part of the body where the cancer forms.
Liposarcoma that forms in the arms and legs can cause:
Liposarcoma that forms in the abdomen can cause:
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that worry you.
It's not clear what causes liposarcoma.
Doctors know that liposarcoma forms when a fat cell develops errors (mutations) in its genetic code. The mutations tell the cell to multiply rapidly and to go on living when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).
Several types of liposarcoma exist. Some grow slowly and the cells stay in one area of the body. Other types grow very quickly and may spread to other areas of the body.
Tests and procedures used in liposarcoma diagnosis include:
Treatments for liposarcoma include:
Surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer cells. Whenever possible, surgeons work to remove the entire liposarcoma.
If a liposarcoma grows to involve nearby organs, removal of the entire liposarcoma may not be possible. In those situations, your doctor may recommend other treatments to shrink the liposarcoma to make it easier to remove during an operation.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Not all types of liposarcoma are sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. Careful analysis of your cancer cells by an expert pathologist can determine whether chemotherapy is likely to help you.
Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain or before surgery to shrink a tumor. Chemotherapy is sometimes combined with radiation therapy.
Start by first seeing your family doctor or health care provider if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If you're diagnosed with liposarcoma, you'll be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating cancer (oncologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For liposarcoma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
November 18th, 2021