The Importance of an Accurate Lipoma Diagnosis

The Importance of an Accurate Lipoma Diagnosis

Simone Youngman Lipoma to CancerA heart-felt and inspiring story this month of 14 year-old Simone Youngman on chroniclelive.co.uk demonstrates the importance of an accurate diagnosis for lipoma. You see, not all lumps growing under the skin are lipomas. Although lipoma is the most common soft-tissue benign tumor in humans (Scientific reference), there are many other types of tumors that can grow under the skin and resemble a lipoma. For example, a Sarcoma is quite rare but resembles a lipoma, which can develop into an aggressive and terminal cancer. Read a recent post I made on the difference between Sarcoma, Carcinoma and Lipoma.

One day, Simone noticed a lump on her side while putting on her swimming costume and told her mother. Her mother decided to take Simone immediately to the hospital, which she did. The initial “Soft” diagnosis by Simone’s doctor was a lipoma, which is a soft mass of fatty cells located under the skin and surrounded by a fibrous capsule. Lipomas are non-cancerous so at this moment there was nothing to worry about. However, to be sure Simone’s doctor referred her to a specialist for an ultrasound to get an accurate lipoma diagnosis. The results from the ultrasound were also inconclusive and Simone underwent further testing in the form of a MRI scan and a biopsy.

Simone was ultimately diagnosed with undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas arise from tissues such as fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They can appear anywhere on the body but most are found on the arms and legs, and less commonly on trunk, head, neck, internal organs or abdominal cavity. Sarcomas are relatively rare compared to the much more common carcinomas, which are derived from epithelial cells.

Four to five weeks later, results showed that Simone had cancer and needed urgent medical treatment. She started an aggressive course of chemotherapy followed by an operation to remove the tumor. Fortunately, things turned out ok for Simone. But imagine she had not done any followup diagnostic tests on that suspected lipoma?

What do you think? Have you has a similar encounter?

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