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Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is an uncommon cancer that develops in smooth muscle tissue. It is a type of sarcoma, a cancer that occurs in connective tissues and bones. Leiomyosarcoma affects muscles that control involuntary movements, such as stomach contractions, and most often impacts the abdomen, uterus, blood vessels and skin.
What are the signs of leiomyosarcoma?
The signs and symptoms of leiomyosarcoma will vary according to where it develops in the body. Early-stage leiomyosarcoma usually doesn’t produce noticeable symptoms, but possible signs as the disease progresses include:
- Unexplained abdominal swelling and bloating
- Difficulty breathing
- Lumps, swelling or unusual pain anywhere in the body
- Changes in menstruation
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dark-colored stools
Individuals who experience any unusual changes in their body should promptly speak with a physician.
Who is at risk for leiomyosarcoma?
Leiomyosarcoma is a rare cancer with only a few thousand new cases every year in the United States. Even so, it is important to be mindful of potential symptoms as well as risk factors for this disease. Factors that may increase the likelihood of developing leiomyosarcoma include:
- Older age (most patients are older than 50)
- Certain thyroid, autoimmune or estrogen-related disorders
- Chronic edema
- Radiation therapy treatment for another cancer
- Prolonged exposure to chemicals, including vinyl chloride, dioxins and those found in weedkillers, and environmental carcinogens
Leiomyosarcoma treatment at Moffitt
Leiomyosarcoma requires highly individualized and multispecialty treatment. This is what we provide at Moffitt Cancer Center—a foremost cancer treatment center that includes a multispecialty team of experts who focus exclusively on sarcomas. Patients in our Sarcoma Program have access to the latest advancements in care, including ambitious clinical trials that allow participants to experience treatment breakthroughs before they are made widely available. And, as a nationally renowned and high-volume cancer center, Moffitt is led by physicians who routinely treat uncommon and complex malignancies like leiomyosarcoma.