Desmoid tumors, also known as aggressive fibromatosis, are non-malignant growths that can be found in the connective tissue and commonly occur in the arms, legs and abdomen. They are noncancerous because they don’t spread to other parts of the body. They are however, managed by oncologists as they have a tendency to be invasive aggressive and develop grow into other nearby organs. Slow growing tumors may not need treatment but fast growing would need treatment such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medications.
Symptoms of desmoid tumors vary depending on which part of the body they occur in. Overall, these are the common signs and symptoms:
- Swelling or presence of a mass
- Loss of function in affected location
- Abdominal cramps and nausea
If these symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
The cause of desmoid tumors is unclear. These tumors develop due to mutation of the DNA of connective tissue cells. The cells then grow and multiply rapidly forming a tumor which can spread and destruct the healthy tissues of the body.
These are the risk factors categories which may develop desmoid tumors:
- Age. Common in young adults between 20 to 40 years old. They are less likely occur in children and older people.
- Genetic syndrome. Inherited Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) may develop desmoid tumors. It is a condition where multiple polyps form in the colon. It occurs from a genetic mutation inherited by children from their parents.
- Pregnancy. Desmoid tumors uncommonly can occur during or after pregnancy.
- Injury. Recent occurrence of an injury or surgery may also sometimes develop desmoid tumors.