What is Uterine Leiomyosarcoma?
Uterine Leiomyosarcoma is a smooth muscle tumour that originates from the muscle layer of the uterus. Leiomyoma or uterine fibroids are common tumours. They are benign in nature. Benign tumours are tumours that do not penetrate the surrounding tissue and do not spread to other parts or organs of the body.
Uterine leiomyosarcomas are very rare tumours. Its incidence rate is 6 out of 1,000,000 populations. Often they are diagnosed after a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Cancer did not spread outside the uterus in approximately 70%-75% of patients. Five-year survival is 50% in individuals whose leiomyosarcoma is limited to the uterus. The survival rate for most other gynaecological cancers is 90%. The prognosis is poor in patients in whom the tumour extends beyond the uterus.
Disease Etiology (Causes)
There is no exact well-known cause of uterine leiomyosarcoma, however, some risk factors, such as obesity, nulliparity (a woman who never gave birth to a baby), delayed menopause, hormone replacement therapy, cigarette smoking, the use of combined oral contraceptives and some anticancer drugs such as Tamoxifen may contribute to the development of endometrial carcinoma.
Signs and symptoms
There are no specific signs and symptoms, and they are often diagnosed with a histopathological examination after surgical removal of the uterus or uterine fibroids, when the patient undergoes surgery because of the presence of fibroids in her uterus. However, they are very rare with an incidence rate of 6 per 1,000,000 women. Common signs and symptoms are;
- Pelvic pain or pressure feeling in pelvic region
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- In cases where the tumour extends beyond the uterus, changes are also observed in the urinary and bowel habits.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are;
- Physical examination of the external genital organs (vulva) and internal genital organs (vagina, uterus, and ovaries) using a bimanual examination or per-speculum examination.
- Hysteroscopy: It is a procedure used to diagnose and treat the causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding. Hysteroscopy is performed using a hysteroscopy, a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix and the inner side of the uterus.
Surgery is the main option for all patients with stages I and II of leiomyosarcoma should undergo a complete abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). Removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries (known as bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) is recommended for women. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy are other advanced options. Choosing the right option depends on the stage of cancer and the desire to maintain the reproductive system.
What Support can we Give for Uterine Leiomyosarcoma?
Uterine Leiomyosarcoma is a 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. 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 Uterine Leiomyosarcoma, 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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