Like many other forms of cancer, doctors do not know exactly what causes liposarcoma, but they suspect a combination of genetics and environment cause the disease, according to Mount Sinai Hospital. Risk factors for developing liposarcoma include chemical exposure, radiation exposure, medical history of angiosarcoma of the liver and a suppressed immune system. Having other diseases, such as Gardner syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, neurofibromatosis and retinoblastoma, also increases the risk of developing liposarcoma.
In most cases, patients with liposarcoma experience a painful or pain-free localized swelling or lump caused by a tumor, notes Mount Sinai Hospital. A woman with a sarcoma in her uterus may experience pelvis or lower abdominal pain or experience unusual bleeding. Someone with a sarcoma on his leg, arm or trunk may not notice a lump but may experience swelling over the affected area that causes discomfort. Chest sarcomas can cause breathlessness or coughing, while an abdominal sarcoma could cause constipation, vomiting and pain in the area.
Doctors treat liposarcoma by removing the tumor and any other surrounding tissue affected by the cancer, explains Mount Sinai Hospital. After surgery, a course of radiation therapy significantly decreases the chances of recurrence. Certain types of sarcomas may also respond to chemotherapy. Doctors may also suggest chemotherapy if the treatment goal is to slow the progression of the cancer and not cure it.