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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Your Question

Eighteen months ago, a large mass was discovered in my abdomen.  It was diagnosed as a low-grade liposarcoma.  Several doctors recommended surgery to remove the whole mass.  Another doctor said to wait until I have more symptoms and then remove only the part of the mass which causes those symptoms. I still don't know what to do about treatment.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is liposarcoma?

Liposarcoma is a tumor that arises from fat tissue.  This tumor often occurs in the thigh, behind the knee, or in the abdomen, but it can be found in other parts of the body.  Because a liposarcoma may grow into surrounding tissues or organs, it is considered a malignant tumor.[1]
Last updated: 2/18/2011

How might liposarcoma be treated?

The treatment for liposarcoma depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor.  Surgery to remove the tumor is often the first treatment.  When the tumor is in the abdomen, it may be difficult to remove completely, especially if the tumor is growing near important organs that cannot be removed.  If the entire tumor cannot be removed during surgery, radiation therapy may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain to reduce the chance of the tumor coming back (a recurrence).   Chemotherapy is another treatment that can kill remaining cancer cells following surgery, though it is not usually used to treat low-grade sarcomas. [2] [3]

Sometimes radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be done prior to surgery to shrink the tumor; this may increase the chance of removing the whole tumor during surgery while limiting the impact to other organs. [2] [3]
Last updated: 2/18/2011

What resources are available to support people making treatment decisions for liposarcoma?

The Sarcoma Alliance was founded by sarcoma survivors to help guide, educate and support people with sarcomas.  Because sarcomas are rare, and because there are many different types of sarcomas, it is difficult for patients to find understandable information about them. The Sarcoma Alliance provides such information, serving patients and health professionals in the U.S., Canada, and throughout the world.

Sarcoma Alliance
775 E. Blithedale #334
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Telephone: (415) 381-7236
Last updated: 5/27/2011