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Leiomyosarcoma And Power Morcellators

Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is a very specific type of cancer known as a sarcoma. It’s a serious condition you should be educated about if you’ve recently received a diagnosis.

What Is Sarcoma?

Let’s start with the basics: sarcoma is a malignant cancerous tumor found on connective tissue in the body. It gets its name from a Greek term word for fleshy growth. Sarcoma grows on connective tissue like blood bones, fat, muscles, blood vessels, cartilage and deep skin tissues.

There are two main types of sarcoma: bone and soft tissue. However, they can be further categorized depending on the type of cell it originated from. For the most part, though, all forms have similar symptoms.

Sarcoma is most common in children. In fact, they make up somewhere around 15% of new cancer diagnosis in this age group. Every year, roughly 14,000 new cases are diagnosed in this country.

Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

One specific form worth mentioning is called malignant fibrous histiocytoma, though you may have previously heard it referred to as fibrosarcoma. This is the most common type of the soft tissue version we mentioned above. Unfortunately, malignant fibrous histiocytoma is, not only very aggressive, but comes with a poor prognosis.

Unlike other kinds of sarcoma, this version typically gets diagnosed in adults. Men are twice as likely to wind up with a diagnosis with the mean age of those patients being 59 years. Usually, the first observable symptom is a large, palpable mass on the body, though it isn’t painful. One of the tough parts about diagnosing malignant fibrous histiocytoma is that it can grow for so long virtually unnoticed, especially because it doesn’t cause much, if any, pain. The fact that it usually targets soft tissue allows it to grow virtually undetected at first.

Despite the fact that this is a soft tissue form of cancer, there have been some cases of malignant fibrous histiocytoma showing up on the bone, but this has happened in less than 5% of diagnosis. Generally, this type of sarcoma prefers the retroperitoneum and proximal extremities.

Causes of Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

Aside from the fact that it can grow for so long without being diagnosed, another characteristic of malignant fibrous histiocytoma that makes it so difficult to deal with is that no one really knows what causes it.

That being said, there are three likely causes many in the medical profession believe are probably responsible.

First, there is genetics. We know that some people are genetically predisposed to certain forms of cancer and malignant fibrous histiocytoma could be one of them. Some genetic abnormality could be at the heart of this type of sarcoma.

Second, this cancer could be caused by exposure to certain chemicals. On the list of suspected chemicals are:

  • Arsenic
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Wood preservatives with chlorophenols
  • Some herbicides

Lastly, and most likely, there is radiation. Patients who receive radiation therapy are believed to be the most common type from the three groups listed here. This isn’t just for malignant fibrous histiocytoma either, but all forms of soft tissue sarcomas. Sadly, those who go in for radiation therapy because of one form of cancer may end up with this second type too.

Diagnosing and Treating Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma

Any time you noticed a large growth on your body, you should seek medical attention ASAP. Doctors generally diagnose malignant fibrous histiocytoma by doing blood tests, biopsies and/or imaging tests like CT scans, x-rays and MRIs.

If it’s established that your growth is indeed malignant fibrous histiocytoma, it will most likely be surgically removed and then chemotherapy or radiation will be used to kill off any cancer cells left in your body.

Although the prospect of this kind of cancer is never good, more and more advancements are being made every day. Like any form of cancer, your likelihood of survival increases the earlier you catch it.