Alternative Therapies for Leiomyosarcoma
If you, or a loved one, recently received a diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), you may feel as if your head is spinning. Hearing that you are battling a rare form of cancer that occurs in only five to ten percent of soft tissue malignancies (which are less than one percent of all cancers) is often a horrible shock. However, you should take comfort in knowing that the prognosis for even advanced cases have improved greatly over the past twenty years, and new and promising remedies are being studied right now.
The Common Therapies
Before we look at the alternatives, let’s learn a bit about common treatments for LMS, as these are important aånd must not be overlooked. The most common method is surgical excision. This is often a surgery done with the goal of removing the local tumor with precision, and with what is known as clean margins. In other words, a large (from 2 cm to 2 in.) area of disease-free tissue remaining after the tumor has been excised.
Because this is not always an option, the next phase of treatment is adjuvant treatment. This is done through chemotherapy and/or radiation to the area in question. Because LMS appears in so many ways, it is impossible to list the exact types of adjuvant treatment that would be used for any particular incidence, but, in general, this is what will be done when a patient’s surgery cannot give the clean margins needed.
Additionally, a patient who is at stage 4 is not a candidate for surgical excision and it is the targeted use of chemotherapy and radiation that will be put to work in combating the LMS.
In all such cases, the most important factor is to work with a team that has experience and a track record of dealing with your type of LMS. This is the sort of team most often found at a specializing cancer center. Depending on the stage and location of your condition you may find the need for specialty surgeons, oncologists, and more. The cancer center or hospital is the best place to find the most successful remedies.
They are also where you will encounter some of the most viable alternative treatments too. This is usually because they are the locations where ongoing research and even clinical studies are being done.
While it sounds scary to put yourself into the hands of scientists as a test subject, you are not going to be allowed to participate in any sort of clinical study until it has already proven itself safe. While its overall effectiveness remains to be proven, human subjects cannot enter into a clinical study until the group conducting it has demonstrated little to no risk to their participants.
These controlled studies always need volunteers, and if you are willing to participate, you could be helping yourself and everyone else with your particular type of LMS. You can find out about open studies through discussions with your medical team, but you can also go online and use the National Cancer Institute’s website dedicated to clinical trials or the American Cancer Society’s page dedicated to matching participants with open trials.
Finally, you can also discuss the newest drugs with your medical team. For example, some drugs with European approval are being tested in the U.S., and some targeted drugs are also being used as alternative treatments. These might be drugs already at use for other health concerns, but showing effects with LMS. One such group includes anti-angiogenesis drugs used to block blood vessel formation, and ideally suited to combating the spread of LMS.
Speaking with your physicians and medial team about alternatives might also open you up to a new diet, psychological counseling, and other approaches that offer therapeutic ways of dealing with your LMS.
NLMSF.org. National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation – New Research & Treatments. 2015. http://www.nlmsf.org/what-is-lms/treatments/new-research-treatments/