Leiomyosarcoma Survival Rate
Leiomyosarcoma is a type of cancer known as sarcoma that attacks the body’s connective tissue. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with it, you’ll most likely be interested in knowing what your chances of survival are.
Obviously, one of the most important aspects of knowing about any type of cancer is the survival rate associated with. Leiomyosarcoma is like most forms of cancer, though, in that its survival rate is largely dependent on when you discover it.
However, for the most part, doctors give those with leiomyosarcoma a five-year survival window. Then it’s a matter of looking at how far the cancer has spread. The approximate breakdown of survival percentages for patients diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in a five-year window looks like this:
- Localized: if the tumor was caught early and didn’t have a chance to spread, there’s a 63% survival rate.
- Regional: if the tumor was able to spread some, but not get farther than the region where it first originated, a patient has a 36% chance of surviving
- Distant: once the tumor has been able to spread to other parts of the body, surveys show that the survival rate drops to 14%.
These survival rates may be affected by a number of other individual factors as well. The big takeaway is that you want to get diagnosed ASAP. When a tumor is small and localized, having it removed may be enough to secure a very good prognosis. The problem is that when it begins spreading, a tumor can either be impossible to remove or its effects can be independent of its location.
Prevalence of Leiomyosarcoma
One of the major issues that lower the survival rate of leiomyosarcoma is simply how rare it is. Sarcomas are already a very aggressive form of cancer, meaning survival rates aren’t great. However, when you add to that the fact that there is such a low occurrence of these tumors, it means that the research necessary to improve prognosis simply isn’t there.
This is also why it’s so important that you see a specialist ASAP. Ideally, you want to seek the help of a multidisciplinary team of physicians who all have a history with this rare form of sarcoma. Fortunately, these teams exist and there are even whole sarcoma centers staffed by doctors who are dedicated to defeating this type of cancer.
The first step, as we touched on above, will be addressing your tumor. Doctors will use x-rays, MRIs and/or CT scans to first look at its size, shape and how far it has been able to spread. This will aid in their diagnosis, though they may wish to do a biopsy as well, just to test whether or not cancerous cells are truly present within the tumor (it could be benign).
As with all tumors, doctors will want to remove a leiomyosarcoma as quickly as possible, though it’s obviously more important to do so if the cancerous growth is spreading rapidly.
After a surgeon is able to remove the tumor, chemotherapy and/or radiation may be necessary to go after any cancerous cells still left in your body. You want them 100% eliminated so they don’t begin proliferating again and sparking other tumors.
The success of this treatment will also determine the likelihood of survival.
Being a form of sarcoma, there is no real way to prevent leiomyosarcoma. While some researchers believe they are zeroing in on certain risk factors, nothing has been proven yet. This is why it’s so important to take any kind of growth seriously and see a doctor about it right away. The sooner you are able to catch leiomyosarcoma, the better your chances are of survival.