Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue – specifically skeletal muscle tissue or sometimes hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus. RMS can occur at any age, but it most often affects children.
RMS can arise anywhere in the body. However, it’s more likely to start in the;
- Head and neck area
- Urinary system, such as the bladder
- Reproductive system, such as the vagina, uterus and testes
- Arms and legs
The most common symptoms are a lump or swelling. Other symptoms will depend on the part of the body that’s affected by the rhabdomyosarcoma;
- A tumour in the head or neck area can sometimes cause blockage (obstruction) and discharge from the nose or throat. Occasionally, an eye may appear swollen and protruding.
- A tumour in the abdomen (tummy) can cause pain or discomfort in the abdomen and difficulty going to the toilet (constipation).
- A tumour in the bladder may cause symptoms such as blood in the urine and difficulty passing urine.
Rhabdomyosarcoma treatment usually involves a combination of treatments, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.
Which treatments your doctor recommends will depend on the location of the cancer, the size of the tumor, whether the cells are aggressive, and whether the cancer is confined to one area (localized rhabdomyosarcoma) or it has spread to other areas of the body (metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma).
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