Leiomyosarcoma Incidence and Statistics
For those dealing with a diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), the absence of solid data can be very frustrating. Additionally, when answers do appear, they are often noted as being less accurate simply because there have not been a lot of widespread studies on the condition.
And why is that? The reason is that LMS is a relatively rare condition. If soft tissue sarcomas account for less than one percent of all malignancies, and LMS accounts for roughly five to ten percent of the soft tissue sarcomas, it shows how rare they are and just why so little data exists.
Of course, you have to take things a bit further because LMS is not just a single type of cancer. It is a cancer that can appear in any involuntary muscle – meaning in any blood vessels – as well as in the lining of organs and in areas where it can remain hidden until it has caused serious symptoms.
Because of these factors, it is difficult to obtain much more in the way of statistics and rates of incidence than some generalized figures from a limited range of reports and studies. However, these can be quite useful.
Common Clinical Features
For example, the most commonly noted clinical features of LMS, in general, include:
- It appears more often in females than males.
- Roughly 50% of cases involve the retroperitoneum (the abdominal cavity).
- It is a disease that strikes those over the age of 50 more often than any other group.
- LMS is categorized as rare by the National Institutes of Health, and that means that it affects fewer than 200k people in the U.S.
- LMS survival has increased over time, after first studies appeared in the 1970s.
- Patients staged at 3 and 4 will probably be unable to overcome their disease, though the prognosis varies widely based on many factors
- Early detection yields the best outcome.
- “There is no published meta-analysis available to provide clear prognostic data,” for soft tissue Leiomyosarcoma. (SarcomaHelp.org, 2015)
What these statistics say is actually quite promising. Though there are thousands of reported cases of this difficult condition each year, there is more and more data becoming available. If you look at the official list of clinical trials in the U.S., you will note that more progressive treatments are being studies, new chemotherapies are being developed, and even the less common variants are being scrutinized.
This is why there is some data about survival rates, though they are always prefaced with a simple statement of fact around the unpredictability of LMS in general, and that the outcome is (partially) in the hands of the patient. In other words, LMS varies so widely from person to person that it is impossible to give a general survival rate.
Essentially, medical experts are indicating that an LMS patient can take some steps to create a more favorable prognosis. This might include changes in diet, use of supportive therapies, and being very proactive about the treatment they receive.
The disease is challenging due to its very nature – spreading as it can through the blood stream. A tumor may be discovered, removed, and never appear again. Reoccurrence could happen, and the disease might also spread. Whether or not this happens is nearly impossible to predict, and it is usually a matter of the patient and the medical team taking as many steps as possible to cut the risk factors.
One report indicates that soft tissue Leiomyosarcoma patients, in general, had a 3-year survival rate of 50% and a 5-year survival rate of 64%. Are these figures accurate? It is impossible to say because the data does not yet exist. Until it does, it is best to look at your specific type of LMS, and to discuss the statistics available from your medical team.
SarcomaHelp.org. Leiomyosarcoma Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment, Research & Support. 2015. http://sarcomahelp.org/leiomyosarcoma.html