What is liposarcoma?
Liposarcoma is a malignant soft tissue tumor that develops in fat tissue. It’s most often found in the abdominal cavity or extremities, usually the thigh or upper arm, but they can be found anywhere in the body.
What causes liposarcoma?
The exact cause of liposarcoma is not entirely understood, however, studies have indicated that genetics may play a role in the formation of all soft tissue sarcomas. In addition:
- Researchers have studied a small number of families that contain several members of one generation who have developed soft tissue sarcomas.
- Limited studies have shown a possible link between soft tissue sarcomas and the development of other types of cancer.
- Some inherited diseases have also been linked with an increased risk of developing soft tissue sarcomas such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome or neurofibromatosis.
- There seems to be a link between liposarcoma and Epstein-Barr virus infection.
As a group, soft tissue sarcomas (other than rhabdomysarcoma, which is slightly more common) account for less than 1 percent of all new cancer cases each year and 3 percent of all childhood tumors.
What are the symptoms of liposarcoma?
Because soft tissue sarcomas affect tissue that is elastic and easily moved, a tumor may exist for a long time before being discovered, growing large and pushing aside surrounding tissue. Symptoms vary greatly with the size, location and spread of the tumor, but may include:
- painless swelling or mass anywhere on the body
- pain or soreness caused by compressed nerves or muscles
- limping or other difficulty using the legs, feet, arms or hands
- diminished range of motion in the affected area