What is Mast Cell Tumour of Unknown Primary?
A mast cell tumour of unknown primary is a condition where mast cell tumours (a type of cancer that originates from mast cells, which are part of the body’s immune system) are found in the body, but the primary site or original location of cancer cannot be determined.
Mast cells are part of our immune system and play crucial roles in allergic responses. They’re found throughout the body but are most concentrated in areas that interface with the external environment, like the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Mast cells contain granules filled with substances such as histamine and heparin, which are released in response to certain stimuli, such as allergens.
Mast cell tumours are abnormal growths of mast cells that can occur in various tissues and organs throughout the body. When the primary site of a mast cell tumour cannot be identified, it’s often because the cancer has spread (metastasized) to multiple areas by the time it’s diagnosed.
Symptoms of a mast cell tumour of unknown primary depend on where the tumours are located in the body. They can include:
- Skin lesions, rashes or redness
- Swelling or lumps in the body
- Unexplained weight loss
- Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhoea
- Generalised fatigue or weakness
Disease Aetiology (Causes)
The exact cause of mast cell tumours of unknown primary is unknown. Like most cancers, it is likely to involve various genetic mutations that lead to the uncontrolled growth of mast cells.
The diagnosis of a mast cell tumour of unknown primary typically involves:
- Detailed medical history and physical examination
- Biopsy of the tumour to examine the cells under a microscope
- Blood tests, including a complete blood count and a test for the mast cell product tryptase
- Imaging tests like CT scan, PET scan, or MRI to help locate the primary site
The treatment for a mast cell tumour of unknown primary often includes:
- Chemotherapy: This is commonly used, as it can target cancer cells throughout the body.
- Radiation therapy: This may be used if the cancer is localised to a specific location that can be targeted.
- Targeted therapy: Medications that specifically target mast cells or their products can be used in some cases.
What Support can we Give for Mast Cell Tumour of Unknown Primary?
Mast Cell Tumour of Unknown Primary is rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. So, we provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Mast Cell Tumour of Unknown Primary, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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Without a Ribbon is a charity that works hard to aid those who suffer from rare cancers. You can help our cause in a variety of ways: