Treatment of Leiomyosarcoma
If you have been diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, LMS, it is likely that your doctor also graded and staged your condition at the same time. In fact, this is really what a diagnosis is all about, and it is meant to provide your medical care team with all of the information they require to begin treating your particular case of LMS.
You should know that LMS is never treated the same way for every patient. This is because it is a form of cancer that appears in soft tissue, particularly in the involuntary muscles tissue of the body. Because of that, it can appear in organs as well as in blood vessels, and that requires a wide array of possible treatment methods.
A Team Approach
The first thing to note is that most patients with LMS are treated by a team of medical care providers simply because they condition is not common and because it is a form of cancer. Most modern medical care designed to treat any form of cancer is going to involve the treating physician or oncologist along with a range of possible healthcare experts.
For example, your diagnosis was done by a pathologist, but you may also need a surgeon, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and more. Medical oncologists, radiologists, nurses and perhaps even a counselor may all be on your team.
And here we should point out that finding out the name of options in complementary therapies, such as a counselor, is not a bad idea. Everyone responds differently to a diagnosis of LMS, and you may struggle with your emotional response or need help and support in dealing with the outcome of your diagnosis. Your family may also benefit from this sort of gentle support too.
Once you have a team in place and your diagnosis complete, you will go over all of the options.
The Most Common Approaches
Sarcomas of all kinds, and not just those due to LMS, are fairly rare. They are handled in a few different ways depending upon their size, location, and your general health. The most common thing for a medical team to do is to determine if they can remove the tumor outright. This is then going to be followed up with radiation therapy to be sure that the likelihood of the cancer returning is greatly reduced.
There are also some chemotherapy treatments administered to those who may be at risk for their form of LMS returning.
Occasionally, a soft tissue sarcoma (including those from LMS) may require an amputation if it is the only way to eliminate the cancer from the body. Though it may seem radical, it is important to remember that soft tissue sarcomas, particularly those relating to LMS can travel via the blood stream. This is unlike many other forms of cancer that traverse the lymphatic systems.
Additionally, when a soft tissue sarcoma has grown to an extent that it is impacting circulation and nerves, and it cannot be removed otherwise, the more extreme step of amputation may provide the patient with a far greater quality of life.
Naturally, that is an extreme and there are many targeted therapies being tested as well as clinical trials. Because LMS is such an unusual form of cancer it can be a bit more challenging to treat. The key is to diagnose and stage the tumor and to then work with a team that understands the condition.
Because it is so rare, you may find it necessary to travel to a specialized treatment center to address the issue, but this is often the best way to get yourself into the hands of a team especially qualified to handle your condition.
Dana-Farber.org. Leiomyosarcoma. 2015. http://www.dana-farber.org/Adult-Care/Treatment-and-Support/Leiomyosarcoma.aspx#Treatment
Macmillan.org. Leiomyosarcoma. 2015. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Softtissuesarcomas/Typesofsofttissuesarcomas/Leiomyosarcoma.aspx#DynamicJumpMenuManager_6_Anchor_3