What Are Some Symptoms of Leiomyosarcoma?

General symptoms of leiomyosarcoma include weight loss, tiredness, fever, a mass felt in the body and general malaise, notes the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting. Symptoms vary depending on which smooth muscles throughout the body the leiomyosarcoma affects.

With leiomyosarcoma found in the gastrointestinal tract, patients experience abdominal pain, explains the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Symptoms include vomiting up blood or passing black, tarry, bad-smelling stool. Leiomyosarcoma in a woman’s uterus produces abnormal bleeding or discharge. Most leiomyosarcomas originate in the retroperitoneum, states The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative. This area in the abdomen found behind the membrane is called the peritoneum.

Leiomyosarcomas are aggressive cancers, and the prognosis for one of these malignancies metastasizing is not good, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. The overall 5-year survival rate for patients who had a liver resection, after a leiomyosarcoma had metastasized to the organ, is 13 percent. There were no 5-year survivors after a repeat liver resection.

Medical experts do not know specifically what causes leiomyosarcoma, explains the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Some experts believe it occurs when something goes wrong in the DNA of the patients. The abnormalities can be inherited or develop spontaneously.

In women, the symptoms of leiomyosarcomas include abnormal vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain or pain in the lower abdomen, according to Mount Sinai Hospital.

Treatments for leiomyosarcoma depends on where the cancer is found and its stage, according to Mount Sinai Hospital. One treatment is radiation therapy after most of the cancer and some local lymph nodes have been removed surgically. The radiation can be delivered externally or internally. During external radiation, a machine delivers radiation to the diseased area. If the radiation is internal, radioactive substances are inserted into the body near the cancer.

Chemotherapy uses drugs, either taken orally, by injection or intravenously to kill the malignancy, says Mount Sinai Hospital. However, chemotherapy is used for only certain kinds of leiomyosarcomas. It is sometimes used not to cure the disease but to slow it down and ease the patient’s symptoms.