Is there a cure for Leiomyosarcoma (LMS)? There are treatments that can eliminate it from the body, and there are interventions that can slow its progress, but the disease itself is so diverse that it is inaccurate to say that there is a single cure or remedy.
For one thing, when the disease is diagnosed, it is then graded and staged. This process is essential as it is how the medical team determines the next steps to take with the patient. Knowing the severity of the condition, and the size and depth of a tumor will enable them to create the most appropriate treatment plan.
This means that the “cure” for any particular case of LMS is based on that specific case. The woman with uterine LMS may find an entirely different set of procedures being used from the man with abdominal LMS. Though both are examples of soft tissue LMS and both may use surgical excision to eliminate a mass, the follow up treatments may vary dramatically.
Currently, when the LMS is “local”, meaning it is limited to a single tumor that is staged between 1A and 3, the patient will have their tumor surgically excised. The oncological surgeon will know that there needs to be much wider margins than in a standard medical procedure if the patient is to have the best prognosis.
The Cure for Leiomyosarcoma
And here we need to consider the issue of margins. When someone is diagnosed with LMS, the wisest “next step” is to find a hospital or treatment center specializing in sarcomas and especially LMS. This is because LMS is such an aggressive form of cancer that is not very responsive to radio and chemotherapies. One of the best ways of curing it is to remove it from the body. However, the average “general” surgeon may not have proper experience with the wider margins needed.
Consider that LMS on the skin or superficially on an extremity may need a space as large as one to two inches around the area removed to be free of the threat of reoccurrence. In other words, the surgeon may have to take tissue up to two inches around that growth. This is on a superficial removal, and when it is tissue deep inside of the body, it can be impossible to safely remove that wide margin. Instead, the surgeon may have to push limits as far as 2cm from the area to ensure the best prognosis.
Even then, most patients may need to follow up with radiation or chemotherapy because only a positive margin could be cleared. This would leave some of the cancer cells in the area, and these may need to be destroyed using those ablative methods.
Chemotherapy and radiation are the two most common ways of ablating the harmful cells in the area. Of course, when a patient has systemic LMS, meaning stage 4, the cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body. This is not a time for surgical removal and is instead when chemotherapy is put to use as the strongest remedy. The prognosis for stage 4 patients is not easy to determine, but most patients are not going to see their tumors reduced or removed.
Currently, there is no cure for LMS. Instead, there are surgical and ablative therapies that can help to eliminate tumors or get them into a controlled status. The prognoses are as diverse as the ways this condition manifests, and the LMS that is challenging to one patient may be easy to control in another.
The best remedy is to work with a doctor qualified to treat LMS, and to find a surgical team with experience in your particular type of the condition. Their skill, knowledge, and practical experience will give you the best chances of beating or living a much higher quality of life after a diagnosis of LMS.
Leiomyosarcoma.info. Basic Information. 2015. http://www.leiomyosarcoma.info/basic.htm#staging