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October 21, 2013

Childhood Cancer Name:


What is Rhabdomyosarcoma?

Sarcomas are cancers that develop from connective tissues in the body, such as muscles, fat, bones, the linings of joints, or blood vessels. There are many types of sarcomas.

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a type of sarcoma made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal (voluntary) muscles. These are muscles that we control to move parts of our body.


Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is classified according to the histology of the cells (how they look under a microscope).
Well before birth, cells called Rhabdomyoblasts (which will eventually form skeletal muscles) begin to form. These cells can develop into RMS. Because this is a cancer of very early forms of muscle cells, it is much more common in children, although it does sometimes occur in adults.

We might think of our skeletal muscles as being mainly in our arms and legs, but RMS can start nearly anywhere in the body, even in some parts of the body that do not normally have skeletal muscle.

Main Types:

The most common one is called Embryonal and the most dangerous one is called Alveolar. There are four types:

    1. Embryonal: The most common type, usually found in children under 15 years of age and in the head and neck region and genitourinary tract.
    2. Botryoid: A variant of the embryonal type; the tumor arises as a grape-like lesion in mucosal-lined hollow organs such as the vagina and urinary bladder.
    3. Alveolar: A more aggressive tumor that usually involves the muscles of the extremities or trunk, more common in adolescents.
    4. Pleomorphic: Rarely seen in children; arises in muscles of the extremities.

Childhood Cancer Localization:

Common sites of RMS include:

  • Soft tissue
  • The head and neck (such as near the eye, inside the nasal sinuses or throat, or near the spine in the neck)
  • Urinary and reproductive organs (bladder, prostate gland, or any of the female organs)
  • Arms and legs
  • Trunk (chest and abdomen)

Childhood Cancer Noticeable Symptoms:


Childhood Cancer Diagnostic method:

MRI scan, PET/CT scan, Biopsy analysis.

Childhood Cancer Treatment:

Chemotherapy, Radiation, Surgery.

Parents Tips:

  1. At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NY, Dr. Leonard Wexler is conducting a relatively successful clinical trial with high-dose chemotherapy.
    It is probably the best place to be if your child has RMS.
  2. The radiation treatment is super important as the RMS reacts well to radiation. Therefore, make sure this part of the treatment is being done in the most professional way; You may want to consider traveling to a facility which specializes in Radiation therapy in children.
  3. Alveolar RMS (ARMS) is a very aggressive and very violent type of cancer with the tendency to relapse. That’s why is crucial to defeating cancer on the first try. Do the best you can and be proactive early!
  4. ALWAYS get a second opinion on the biopsy and suggested treatment. Sarcomas can be hard to diagnose. Remember: Any good Oncologist would welcome second and third opinions
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