Rhabdomyosarcoma – A Common Children’s Cancer

sarcomasUsually, sarcomas are rare types of cancer that grow in the supporting structure of the body such as muscles, cartilage and bones.

Basically, sarcomas are two types: one is soft tissue sarcoma and the other bone sarcoma.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common form of soft tissue sarcoma that develops in children. The tumors grow from fibers or muscles and can develop in an area of the child’s body.

The most common areas that rhabdomyosarcoma affects include: bladder, neck or testes. Tumors can also be found in the muscles in the chest or in the abdominal walls.

If the tumor develops in the neck or head areas, then it can easily spread into the fluid around the spine or into the brain. The causes of rhabdomyosarcoma are still unknown. Children with Li Fraumeni syndrome are at a high risk of developing rhabdomyosarcoma.

How rhabdomyosarcoma affects the child’s body?

  • Tumors detected in head area cause obstruction and discharge from throat or nose. Eyes become swollen and protruding.
  • A tumor detected in the abdominal area causes discomfort in the abdomen and trouble going to the toilet.
  • A tumor detected in the bladder can cause blood in the urine and trouble in passing urine.

To treat rhabdomyosarcoma, methods include surgery,  cancer chemotherapy or radiation. Surgery is used for removing the tumor. If the tumor is not completely removed from surgery, then radiotherapy is used.