Spleen cancer doesn’t get the headlines like some other forms of the disease, but it is a serious condition that should be treated as soon as possible. The quicker the cancer is detected, the higher the likelihood that treatment will be effective. Today, we take a closer look at the causes, symptoms and treatment options for spleen cancer.
Causes and Symptoms of Spleen Cancer
Spleen cancer can develop primarily in the spleen, or since the organ is part of your lymphatic system, it can spread from another area to the spleen, which is known as secondary spleen cancer. Oftentimes secondary spleen cancer develops as a result of the spread of breast cancer, lung cancer or some types of skin cancer.
Other causes or risk factors for developing spleen cancer include having immune deficiency conditions, contracting certain infections, having a family history of the disease, having undergone a number of radiation or chemotherapy treatments, smoking and being older.
Symptoms of spleen cancer include:
- An enlargement of the organ
- Pain in the upper left side of your body
- Feeling very full after eating a normal amount
- Developing frequent infections
- Becoming easily fatigued
- Bleeding easily
- Weight loss
Spleen Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Since your spleen is part of the lymphatic system, if your doctor suspects that you may be dealing with spleen cancer, they will likely run some tests to determine if any other types of cancer are present. They may also conduct a bone marrow test (taken from the hip) or imaging tests to look for the cancer. If the cancer is housed only in your spleen, your doctor will perform a splenectomy, which is an operation to remove the spleen. This can be done on a laparoscopic (minimally invasive) basis or using an open procedure. Doctors usually opt for the minimally invasive operation when possible because it is less taxing on the patient and leads to quicker recovery times.
In the event that your spleen cancer is not the only cancer you are dealing with, your doctor will walk your through your treatment options. Other treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, cancer targeting medications or a stem cell transplant to replace the damaged bone marrow. The success rate of your spleen cancer removal and subsequent cancer removal depends on your specific case, but the sooner the issue is detected, the greater the chance of having a full recovery. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, consider reaching out to an endocrine surgeon in your area. Feel free to contact Dr. Koeplin for more information.