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Liposarcoma Information: Symptoms and Treatment

  • Synopsis: Published: 2015-01-05 - A malignant tumor starting in fat cells in deep soft tissue, most commonly found in legs or thighs, but also found in abdomen, back, arms, chest, and neck - Disabled World (

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Quote: "There is currently no data that links liposarcomas to alcohol, tobacco, or anything else, and obesity isn't a known risk factor either."

Liposarcoma is a malignant tumor that arises in fat cells in deep soft tissue, such as that inside the thigh or in the retroperitoneum. It is most commonly found in your legs or thighs, but it can also be found in your abdomen, back, arms, chest, and neck.

Liposarcomas most often occur in people between the ages of 50 to 70 years old.

They are typically large bulky tumors which tend to have multiple smaller satellites extending beyond the main confines of the tumor.

Liposarcomas more commonly occur in an area of your body that has been injured.

You may be at a higher risk if have received radiation treatment in the past.

Liposarcomas, like all sarcomas, are rare - around 1 per cent of all cancers.

There is currently no data that links liposarcomas to alcohol, tobacco, or anything else, and obesity isn't a known risk factor either.

Several subtypes of liposarcoma exist Including:

  • Pleomorphic liposarcoma.
  • Myxoid/round cell liposarcoma.
  • De-differentiated liposarcoma - Consists of well-differentiated liposarcoma adjacent to a more poorly differentiated tumor.
  • Well-differentiated liposarcoma - Synonymous with atypical lipomatous tumor; the former term is used almost exclusively for lesions in the retroperitoneum, while the latter is used for lesions arising elsewhere.

Liposarcoma Symptoms:

Left thigh showing edema caused by liposarcoma
About This Image: Left thigh showing edema caused by liposarcoma
In the early stages, a sarcoma is small and does not produce symptoms. As the tumor grows, it may push aside normal body structures, causing symptoms. Liposarcomas are usually painless and slow growing. You may be able to see or feel it under your skin. You may have pain if your tumor grows and presses on your nerves and blood vessels. Retroperitoneal tumors may present themselves with signs of weight loss and emaciation and abdominal pain. These tumors may also compress the kidney or ureter leading to kidney failure.

Depending on where the tumor is, you may have any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing or weight loss
  • Trouble urinating or pain while urinating
  • Pain and swelling in the area of your tumor
  • Coughing or trouble speaking and breathing
  • Decreased movement in the limb that has the tumor
  • Abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or bloody bowel movements
  • Uterus - bleeding from the vagina and pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen

A physical exam is the first step in the liposarcoma diagnosis process. Lumps that are 5cm or larger and deep-seated, firm and fixed to underlying structures are usually considered suspicious. Imaging tests are the next step and often include an X-ray and an MRI.

There are two main types of biopsy: a needle and a surgical biopsy. The location, incision and technical aspects of the biopsy can affect a patient's treatment options and outcome. Therefore, it is essential that the biopsy is planned by a surgeon or radiologist experienced with sarcomas. The results of the biopsy and imaging studies provide physicians with an idea of the extent of spread, or stage, of disease that can be used to create a treatment plan.

Liposarcoma Treatment:

Liposarcoma Prognosis:

The prognosis varies depending on the site of origin, the type of cancer cell, the tumor size, the depth, and proximity to lymph nodes. Well-differentiated liposarcomas treated with surgery and radiation have a low recurrence rate (about 10%) and rarely metastasize. Five-year survival rates vary from 100% to 56% based on histological subtype.

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  3. Why the Risk of Cancer Increases with Age - National Institutes of Health (NIH) - (2014-02-08)

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