Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common of the soft tissue sarcomas. 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, the bladder or the testes. Sometimes the tumours are found in a muscle in a limb or in the chest or abdominal wall. Occasionally if the tumour is in the head or neck region, it can spread into the brain or the fluid around the spinal cord.
Causes of Rhabdomyosarcoma
The cause of rhadomyosarcoma is unknown. Research is going on all the time into possible causes of this disease. Children with certain rare genetic disorders, such as Li Fraumeni syndrome, have a higher risk of developing rhabdomyosarcoma.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms will depend on the part of the body that is affected by the rhabdomyosarcoma. The most common sign is a swelling or lump.
- If the tumour is in the head area it can sometimes cause blockage (obstruction) and a discharge from the nose or throat. Occasionally an eye may appear swollen and protruding.
- If the tumour is in the abdomen (tummy) the child may have discomfort in the abdomen and problems going to the toilet.
- If the tumour is in the bladder, the child may have blood in the urine and have difficulty passing urine.