• BY Dr. Rajeev's Clinic
  • 08-Jan-2023

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma (tumour). Most children with rhabdomyosarcoma are younger than 10 years old. It's more common in boys than girls.

Location -Although rhabdomyosarcoma can occur almost anywhere in the body, the cancer has a predilection for several sites:Head and neck region (about 35%), usually in the orbit or nasopharyngeal passages: Most common among school-aged children

Genitourinary system (about 25%), usually in the bladder, prostate, or vagina: Usually occurring in infants and toddlers

Extremities (about 20%): Most common among adolescents

Trunk/miscellaneous sites (about 20%)

About 15 to 25% of children present with metastatic disease. The lung is the most common site of metastasis; bone, bone marrow, and lymph nodes are other possible sites.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common of soft tissue sarcomas in children. These tumours develop from muscle or fibrous tissue and can grow in any part of the body. The most common areas of the body to be affected are around the head and neck, bladder, testes, womb, or vagina.

SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: children present with a firm, palpable mass or with organ dysfunction due to impingement on the organ by the cancer.

Orbital and nasopharyngeal cancers may cause tearing, eye pain, or proptosis. Nasopharyngeal cavity cancers may cause nasal congestion, a change in voice, or mucopurulent discharge.

Genitourinary cancers cause abdominal pain, a palpable abdominal mass, difficulty urinating, and hematuria. Extremity cancers appear as firm, indiscrete masses anywhere on the arms or legs. Regional lymph node spread occurs frequently, and metastases in the lungs, bone marrow, and lymph nodes can occur and usually do not cause symptoms.


  • Child may need a small operation to remove a sample from the tumour (a biopsy)
  • chest X-ray to check the lungs
  • an ultrasound
  • CT or MRI scans
  • blood tests and bone marrow

TREATMENT : Rhabdomyosarcomas are rare tumours and should be treated at specialist centres. Treatment will depend on the size of the tumour, its position in the body and whether it has spread.