How Liposarcoma Is Treated

Liposarcoma is a rare cancer that starts in the fat cells, most commonly occurring in the legs, abdomen, or arms. The tumor is usually painless and grows slowly. In some cases, though, it grows rapidly, which can cause the tumor to put pressure on the nearby organs and tissues.

There are several treatment options available for this type of cancer. Treatment options depend on the size and location of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. This article will review the most common treatments for liposarcoma.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle

There are no home remedies to effectively treat liposarcoma.

Some experts recommend adopting certain health-promoting lifestyle habits during treatment, such as eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods (such as lean protein, fruits, and vegetables), limiting processed foods and sugar, and eliminating alcohol and tobacco. These efforts can help keep your strength and energy up and improve your ability to tolerate harsh side effects from treatment.

Surgeries and Specialist-Driven Procedures

Surgery is generally the first-line treatment for liposarcoma that has not spread to other areas of the body. The two main types of surgery, depending on the size and location of the tumor are:

  • Total resection: This procedure is a complete removal of the tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding the area. This is the preferred approach when possible, and it's considered curative in many cases. In one small study, just 1 of 41 patients who underwent resection surgery for the most common type of liposarcoma experienced a recurrence of cancer.
  • Partial resection: If the tumor has grown or spread in a way that it cannot be completely removed during surgery, the surgeon will remove as much of the tumor as possible. In this case, chemotherapy or radiation are usually used to kill the rest of the tumor and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

In very rare cases, if the tumor is very large or has spread, and it is affecting a limb, amputation may be necessary.

Main Treatment Options for Liposarcoma

Verywell / Laura Porter

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is medication that kills cancer cells throughout the body. It can be given in the form of a pill or through an intravenous (IV, within a vein) infusion.

This treatment may be used before surgery to shrink or slow the growth of the tumor. At times, it is used after surgery to help ensure that there are no cancer cells left in the body and to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Two chemotherapy medications that have been approved to treat liposarcoma are Halaven (eribulin) and Yondelis (trabedectin). These medications are intended for long-term use in patients with liposarcoma that is inoperable or has spread.

Radiation

Radiation therapy is another treatment option for liposarcoma. This therapy involves targeting the tumor with high-energy beams that kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. It is mainly used before surgery to help shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove. But it may also be used after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Complementary and alternative medicine is not part of traditional medical care, and CAM is not a treatment for liposarcoma. But these therapies can be used along with traditional treatments. Some patients find they help cope with the stress and other psychological effects of navigating cancer treatment and in managing the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

CAM treatments include mind-body therapies, such as yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, and journaling, as well as homeopathic remedies like supplements. Before trying any CAM therapies, consult with your healthcare team. They can help confirm whether it will benefit your cancer treatment plan and, if so, they may be able to point you toward local groups or classes that are designed for cancer patients.

Summary

There are three main treatment options for liposarcoma. The first-line option is surgical removal, with the goal of removing all of the tumor as well as a small margin of healthy tissue surrounding the area. The other two options, chemotherapy and radiation, may be used before surgery to shrink or slow the growth of the tumor, or after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your situation.

A Word From Verywell

Going through cancer treatment is a challenging time. Navigating concerns about the body's ability to fight off cancer, getting to and from appointments, and experiencing the side effects of treatment are a lot to handle alone, so it's important to reach out to your friends and family for support before, during, and after treatment.

Depending on your treatment plan and recovery, you may need assistance with daily tasks. Be sure to plan ahead and don't hesitate to ask for help from your community. You may also want to find a support group online or in person, as it can be helpful to hear of others' experiences and get an idea of what to expect.

Remember you are not alone. If you need additional support mentally navigating your diagnosis and treatment, consider making an appointment with a licensed mental health professional. They can help you process your thoughts and give you tools to adjust to the changes.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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