For cancer survivors, the recurrence of cancer is the biggest worry. Though the doctor will regularly scan you for any suspicious symptom, any tumor can recur in the body. Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) or soft tissue sarcoma is no exception.
LMS has the highest chance of recurrence approximately two years after diagnosis. The chances of recurrence thereafter are present, but they are less than they are in the first two years.
There are a few things a leiomyosarcoma (LMS) survivor should know about recurrence, including
- Leiomyosarcoma can recur at three places
- Local (in or near the same site started)
- Distant (spread to other tissue or organs)
- Regional (spread to nearby tissues, such as lymph nodes)
- Treatment options may vary based on the exact location of the recurrence.
- Always screen for a new lump at the surgical site. If you detect any lump or changes in your skin at the site of your first tumor, immediately consult your physician.
- Most of the sarcoma recurs in the first two years after diagnosis. However, some cancers can recur many years later. Long-term follow-ups with your doctor are essential.
- Metastatic sarcoma or distant sarcoma mostly recurs in the lungs. If you are at a high risk of developing metastatic carcinoma, it is better to get routine chest X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans done.
- You may want to consider a clinical trial for an advanced sarcoma recurrence. By participating in clinical trials, you may get access to a revolutionary treatment long before it is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Anxiety about sarcoma recurrence is normal. However, it is crucial to cope with stress well.
- The second time may not be as stressful as the first time because you have been through a lot already. These experiences have enriched your knowledge about cancer and the ways to cope with it.
What is leiomyosarcoma?
Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a malignant tumor that starts in the smooth muscle cells. It is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that tends to grow fast if it is not treated quickly.
Smooth muscle is a type of involuntary muscle that reacts involuntarily in response to various stimuli. Some functions of smooth muscles include
- Smooth muscle that lines the walls of the digestive tract helps peristalsis, which helps to transport food.
- Smooth muscle in the skin causes goosebumps to form in response to cold.
- Smooth muscle in the salivary glands causes the glands to secrete saliva in response to taking a bite of food.
Smooth muscle is found almost everywhere in the body. Hence, leiomyosarcoma (LMS) can form almost anywhere, including
- Blood vessels
- Genitourinary system
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Retroperitoneum (the space behind the abdominal cavity)
- Uterus (the most common site of LMS)
LMS is classified under soft tissue sarcoma. Sarcomas are cancerous tumors that start from the connective tissue, which connects, supports and surrounds several structures and organs. Soft tissue includes
- Blood and lymph vessels
What are the treatment options for leiomyosarcoma recurrence?
There are two options for recurrent leiomyosarcoma (LMS)
- Local LMS can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy, especially if radiation was not a part of the initial tumor treatment.
- Distant LMS can be treated with chemo or targeted therapy. Surgery is recommended if cancer has spread to the lungs.
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