Are Fibroids a Form of Cancer?
When women receive a fibroid diagnosis, often, one of their first questions is, "Are fibroids cancerous?"
The short answer is no. Uterine fibroids are usually non-cancerous growths that develop in the muscle tissue of the uterus. Almost all fibroids are harmless and do not indicate cancer. It is also important to know that fibroid development does not increase your risk of developing cancer.
What Is Leiomyosarcoma?
Leiomyosarcoma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that grows in smooth muscles, which are the muscles responsible for involuntary movements in organs like the bladder, stomach, intestines, and uterus.
This cancer type is uncommon, making up less than 20% of all soft tissue sarcomas, which themselves account for about 1% of adult cancer cases.
Leiomyosarcomas fall into three main categories.
1. Somatic soft tissue LMS
The most common kind of leiomyosarcoma is somatic soft tissue LMS. These tumors usually arise in smooth muscle cells, often found in limbs, the stomach, or the uterus. Depending on where it grows, this type of LMS can show up as a painless lump that grows fast and might cause discomfort or affect movement. Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common and recommended treatment. Sometimes, additional treatments like radiation or chemotherapy could be needed in specific cases.
2. Cutaneous or subcutaneous LMS
Unlike somatic soft tissue LMS, cutaneous or subcutaneous LMS begins in the smooth muscle cells within the skin. These tumors often look like firm lumps on the skin's surface and can seem similar to non-cancerous growths. Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment for cutaneous or subcutaneous LMS.
3. Vascular LMS
Vascular leiomyosarcoma is the rarest type of leiomyosarcoma that starts in the smooth muscle cells within blood vessels. These tumors can happen in arteries and veins. Vascular LMS might block the vessels, causing pain, swelling, or even severe conditions like ischemia. Treatment for this type of LMS usually includes a mix of surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and other targeted therapies.
Symptoms of uterine leiomyosarcoma are similar to those produced by uterine fibroids and include:
- Non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal discharge
- Frequent urination
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
While the precise cause of leiomyosarcoma is unknown, people who have experienced radiation therapy or had prolonged exposure to certain pesticide chemicals might be at a higher risk of developing the condition.
Fortunately, the likelihood that a uterine fibroid is a leiomyosarcoma is very low. Nevertheless, it is vital to address any uterine symptoms and determine if uterus fibroid treatment is right for you.
Dallas Fibroid Center: A Top Fibroid Treatment Center in Texas
At Dallas Fibroid Center, we specialize in uterine fibroid treatment to effectively reduce symptoms. Our experienced fibroid doctors provide cutting-edge technologies for detection and non-invasive fibroid treatment that avoids hospital stays and lengthy recovery periods.
One of our advanced interventions is Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), a non-surgical fibroid treatment that significantly shrinks fibroids by disrupting their blood supply.
Our fibroid specialists bring decades of expertise, ensuring outstanding outcomes for various patients.
For consultation at our Dallas-based fibroid treatment clinic or to book an appointment, contact our friendly representatives today.