Female Infertility

 

What is uterine leiomyosarcoma?

Uterine leiomyosarcoma is a form of cancer that affects the muscle and connective tissue of the uterus. Leiomyosarcoma is extremely rare, affecting six out of one million women in the United States each year. Leiomyosarcoma should not be confused with leiomyoma - a common benign uterine growth (or fibroid) that often appears during childbearing years.

Having fibroids doesn’t increase your risk for developing leiomyosarcoma or other uterine cancers. Dr. Dan Gehlbach and the team at our Kansas City fertility center strive to raise awareness about this life-threatening cancer.

Symptoms of uterine leiomyosarcoma

Leiomyosarcoma is typically discovered by chance when a woman undergoes a hysterectomy for benign fibroids. As a fertility patient, your routine testing may uncover something that warrants further investigation.

Dr. Gehlbach encourages women to pay attention to the symptoms often associated with leiomyosarcoma, yet stresses that they do not always mean that a woman has cancer. In fact, they are more often caused by something else, such as benign or other non-cancerous conditions.

Symptoms typically include:

  • Bleeding between periods or after menopause
  • A mass in the lower abdomen
  • Pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
  • Frequent urination

Diagnosing leiomyosarcoma

Depending on the symptoms, the following are some of the tests and procedures that may be performed.

Treatment for uterine leiomyosarcoma

Leiomyosarcoma is typically treated by a gynecologic oncologist who will determine the stage of leiomyosarcoma in order to individualize the most effective treatment plan. The summary stages of leiomyosarcoma cancer are: localized (cancer is only in the uterus); regional (cancer has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes); and distant (cancer has spread to other areas and organs of the body).

Most women with leiomyosarcoma have surgery to remove the cancer. Radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy are sometimes ordered to lower the risk of the can-cer coming back after surgery.

Prognosis

This is an aggressive form of cancer, but clinical trials for uterine leiomyosarcoma are being used to help oncologists find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for women fighting this cancer.

Contact our Kansas City fertility center to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gehlbach. If you are trying to conceive, you can feel confident that Dr. Gehlbach is an experienced and dual board certified reproductive endocrinologist devoted to women’s health and wellness.