What is aggressive fibromatosis?

Aggressive fibromatosis, also known as a desmoid tumor, is a rare type of nonmalignant tumor that originates in the connective tissue of the body. These tumors do not have the ability to spread throughout the body, although they can cause a considerable amount of localized damage. Symptoms depend on the location of the tumors and may include pain or internal bleeding, although most patients will not experience any negative symptoms associated with this condition. Treatment usually consists of surgical removal of tumors if they are causing problems, although those that do not cause any uncomfortable side effects can be checked periodically for changes. Any questions or concerns about aggressive fibromatosis or the most appropriate treatment options for an individual situation should be discussed with a physician or other medical professional.

Although aggressive fibromatosis is considered a benign condition, the tumors can cause a lot of damage, even to the point of causing organ failure. Desmoid tumors are not usually considered cancerous, although in many ways, they act in the same way as cancer. Tumors lack the ability to spread throughout the body, but can destroy tissues and organs near where they develop. The exact cause of aggressive fibromatosis is not clearly understood, although there appears to be a genetic component. It is quite common to find that a patient diagnosed with this condition also has relatives with desmoid tumors.

In most cases, there are no specific symptoms that indicate the presence of aggressive fibromatosis. If the tumor is close to the surface of the skin, a painless lump may appear. Many times this condition is diagnosed through the use of routine diagnostic tests or after symptoms begin to develop.

Treatment for aggressive fibromatosis generally involves surgical removal of the tumor, although there is a high rate of recurrence with surgery alone. Depending on the location of the tumor, surgery may not be a viable treatment option. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and the use of prescription drugs are often used to treat aggressive fibromatosis, with or without surgery. In the early stages, the tumor can be controlled and treatment delayed until symptoms develop or damage to surrounding organs and tissues develops. It is important for the patient to discuss the benefits and risks of each treatment option before deciding on the most appropriate treatment plan.

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