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  • Liposarcoma of Breast is a type of carcinoma of breast affecting women of a wide age category. A liposarcoma is a rare and malignant tumor of the fat cells. They are generally asymptomatic and can occur anywhere in the body
    There are 4 main types of liposarcomas (LPS or LS) and all 4 types have been observed in the breast. These include the following:
  • Well-differentiated liposarcoma
  • Dedifferentiated liposarcoma
  • Myxoid liposarcoma
  • Pleomorphic liposarcoma

The signs and symptoms of Liposarcoma of Breast include the presence of a slow-growing mass in the breast, breast pain, and change in breast profile. Complications from this cancer type includes the spread of cancer from the breast to other locations, and treatment side effects that may include nausea, vomiting, and hair loss
In order to treat Liposarcoma of Breast, the healthcare provider may use a combination of therapies that may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, depending on the stage of the tumor
The prognosis of Liposarcoma of Breast is generally poor despite treatment, since it is an invasive type of malignancy. However, early diagnosis and adequate treatment can significantly improve the outcomes.

Who gets Liposarcoma of Breast? (Age and Sex Distribution)
Liposarcoma of Breast is a very rare type of breast cancer; it may constitute nearly 0.3% of all sarcomas affecting the breast
It is seen in young, middle-aged, and older adults; a wide age range from 19 to 76 years is exhibited. The mean age of presentation is around 47 years
Women are affected more than men; men are only rarely affected
All racial and ethnic groups are affected and no specific predilection is seen
Developed countries (the affluent nations) show a higher prevalence rate for breast cancer than developing countries. Thus, America, Europe, Australia have greater incidences than Asia (including India, China, and Japan) and Africa
What are the Risk Factors for Liposarcoma of Breast? (Predisposing Factors)
The following risk factors for Liposarcoma of Breast have been noted:

Radiation therapy: Receiving radiation therapy to the chest or breast area is a key risk factor
Gender: Women have a higher risk for developing the condition than men
It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Liposarcoma of Breast? (Etiology)
The exact cause of development of Liposarcoma of Breast is currently not clearly known
Certain gene mutations have also been reported in the tumors. Research is being performed to determine how these mutations contribute to the formation of the tumors

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Liposarcoma of Breast?
The signs and symptoms of Liposarcoma of Breast may include:

A solid lump in the breast or underarm area; usually a single breast is involved
The tumor mass is slow-growing and well-defined; the borders may be irregular and appear infiltrative
The average size of the tumor is around 8 cm; it can grow to large sizes exceeding 15 cm
Pain is generally felt in the affected breast
Thickening or swelling of part of the breast; change in the size or shape of the breast. Skin changes are not commonly observed
Inversion of the nipple (pulling-in of nipple into the breast)
Bloody discharge from the nipple
The condition can be rarely bilateral affecting both breasts
Changes to the skin covering the breast or nipple area are not observed
When the tumor is visually examined by a pathologist, it can have a gelatinous appearance

How is Liposarcoma of Breast Diagnosed?
Liposarcoma of Breast may be diagnosed in the following manner:

Complete physical examination with comprehensive medical and family history evaluation
Breast exam to check for any lumps or unusual signs in the breasts
Mammogram: A mammogram uses X-rays to provide images of the breast. These benign tumors are identified as a mammogram mass, which may or may not be associated with microcalcification. The mammography findings may raise enough suspicion to warrant a tissue biopsy
Galactography: A mammography using a contrast solution, mostly used to analyze the reason behind a nipple discharge
Breast ultrasound scan: Using high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the breast, the type of tumor, whether fluid-filled cyst or solid mass type, may be identified
Computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the breast
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan to help determine, if the cancer has spread to other organ systems
Breast biopsy:
A biopsy of the tumor is performed and sent to a laboratory for a pathological examination. A pathologist examines the biopsy under a microscope. After putting together clinical findings, special studies on tissues (if needed) and with microscope findings, the pathologist arrives at a definitive diagnosis. Examination of the biopsy under a microscope by a pathologist is considered to be gold standard in arriving at a conclusive diagnosis
Biopsy specimens are studied initially using Hematoxylin and Eosin staining. The pathologist then decides on additional studies depending on the clinical situation
Sometimes, the pathologist may perform additional studies, which may include immunohistochemical stains and molecular studies to assist in the diagnosis
Biopsies are the only methods used to determine whether an abnormality is benign or cancerous. These are performed by inserting a needle into a breast mass and removing cells or tissues, for further examination. There are different types of biopsies:

Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) of breast mass: In this method, a very thin needle is used to remove a small amount of tissue. FNAB cannot help definitively diagnose Mammary Liposarcoma. It only helps determine if the tumor is malignant or benign. This can help the healthcare provider discuss and plan the next steps (with respect to diagnosis and treatment)
Core needle biopsy of breast mass: A wider needle is used to withdraw a small cylinder of tissue from an abnormal area of the breast. A definitive diagnosis on a core biopsy may be difficult. Hence, a follow-up surgical procedure to obtain a larger breast biopsy specimen (such as through a lumpectomy) is often performed
Open tissue biopsy of breast mass: A surgical procedure used less often than needle biopsies, it is used to remove a part or all of a breast lump for analysis
Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the Possible Complications of Liposarcoma of Breast?
The complications of Liposarcoma of Breast may include:

Emotional distress due to the presence of breast cancer
Some variants of liposarcoma are known to both recur and spread to other regions
Metastasis of the tumor to local lymph nodes (axilla); but, this is very rare and generally not observed
Side effects of chemotherapy, which may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, decreased appetite, mouth sores, fatigue, low blood cell counts, and a higher chance of developing infections
Side effects of radiation therapy that may include sunburn-like rashes, where radiation was targeted, red or dry skin, heaviness of the breasts, and general fatigue
Lymphedema (swelling of an arm) may occur after surgery or radiation therapy, due to restriction of flow of lymph fluid resulting in a build-up of lymph. It may form weeks to years after treatment that involves radiation therapy to the axillary lymph nodes

How is Liposarcoma of Breast Treated?
Treatment options available for individuals with Liposarcoma of Breast are dependent upon the following:

Type of cancer
The staging of the cancer: If breast cancer is diagnosed, staging helps determine whether it has spread and which treatment options are best for the patient
Whether the cancer cells are sensitive to certain particular hormones, and
Personal preferences
Surgery: Surgery is the most common form of treatment involving the removal of the tumor. Various types of surgery, to remove the cancer include:

Lumpectomy: Breast-sparing surgery (least invasive breast cancer surgery) in which the tumor, as well as a small portion of the surrounding tissue is removed
Mastectomy: Surgery to remove all of the breast tissue; it may be simple (removal of the breast, nipple, areola, sentinel lymph nodes) or radical mastectomy (removal of the breast, nipple, areola, all axillary lymph nodes, and underlying muscle of the chest wall)
Sentinel node biopsy: Procedure done to examine the “sentinel lymph node,” or lymph node(s) closest to the tumor, as this is the most likely location, where cancer cells may have spread to. This lymph node is removed and tested for cancerous cells
Axillary node dissection: This procedure is performed to remove some axillary lymph nodes in the underarm area, to allow dissection and examination. This helps in establishing whether the cancer has spread to more than one lymph node
Other treatment options may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Radiotherapy can be used as primary therapy in situations where the tumor cannot be removed completely, or when the tumor reappears (recurrent Liposarcoma of Breast) after surgery
Radiotherapy can also be used as additional therapy after surgery, if there is a possibility of tumor recurrence after surgery, or if there are inadequate margins (possibility of tumor left behind) following surgery. In some cases due to location of tumor, a complete surgical removal of the tumor is difficult
Chemotherapy can be used for treating the tumor in the following conditions:
When the tumors cannot be removed completely (due to incomplete surgical resection)
Tumors that recur after surgery (recurrent Liposarcoma of Breast)
Tumors that have spread to distant parts of the body (metastatic Liposarcoma of Breast)
How can the Liposarcoma of Breast be Prevented?
The development of Liposarcoma of Breast is difficult to prevent. Currently, no specific preventive measures are available to avoid Mammary Liposarcoma .

In general, however, it is important to be aware of certain risk factors for breast tumors, which include:

Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly; physical activity can reduce risk, especially in post-menopausal women
Implement and follow a well-balanced diet; a high intake of fiber via fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk
Drink alcohol in moderation; limit to one or (maximum) two drinks a day
Limit combination hormone therapy used to treat symptoms of menopause. It is advised that individuals be aware of the potential benefits and risks of hormone therapy
Cancer screenings can help detect any breast cancer, at its earliest stages
Learn to do ‘breast self-exams’, in order to help identify any unusual lumps, signs in the breasts
What is the Prognosis of Liposarcoma of Breast? (Outcomes/Resolutions)
Liposarcoma of Breast is a type of invasive breast cancer. The prognosis of the condition is generally poor, since the tumors are usually aggressive
Fatalities have been reported following recurrence of the tumor (after surgery); some tumors recur within a year of treatment. In some cases, it has been reported that the duration between diagnosis of the tumor and death is less than 12-18 months
Liposarcoma of Breast occurring against a background of pregnancy are even more aggressive and the prognosis is much worse
The prognosis of breast cancer, in general, depends upon a set of several factors that include:
The grade of the breast tumor such as grade1, grade2, and grade 3. Grade1 indicates a well-defined tumor, whereas grade 3 indicates a poorly-defined tumor
The size of the breast tumor: Individuals with small-sized tumors fare better than those with large-sized tumors
Stage of breast cancer: With lower-stage tumors, when the tumor is confined to site of origin, the prognosis is usually excellent with appropriate therapy. In higher-stage tumors, such as tumors with metastasis, the prognosis is poor
Cell growth rate
Overall health of the individual: Individuals with overall excellent health have better prognosis compared with those with poor health
Age of the individual: Older individuals generally have poorer prognosis than younger individuals
Individuals with bulky disease of the breast cancer have a poorer prognosis
Involvement of the lymph node, which can adversely affect the prognosis
Involvement of vital organs may complicate the condition
The surgical respectability of the tumor (meaning, if the tumor can be removed completely)
Whether the tumor is occurring for the first time, or is a recurrent tumor. Recurring tumors have worse prognosis compared to tumors that do not recur
Response to treatment of breast cancer: Tumors that respond to treatment have better prognosis compared to tumors that do not respond to treatment
Progression of the condition makes the outcome worse
An early diagnosis and prompt treatment of the tumor generally yields better outcomes than a late diagnosis and delayed treatment
The combination chemotherapy drugs used, may have some severe side effects (like cardio-toxicity). This chiefly impacts the elderly adults, or those who are already affected by other medical conditions. Tolerance to the chemotherapy sessions is a positive influencing factor

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