This is an infrequent type of malignancy that occur in soft tissues especially in skeletal muscle tissue or hollow organs like bladder or uterus. It can occur at any age but mostly children are affected.
Usually the symptoms depend upon the location where cancer is located. If it is located in head and neck region signs and symptoms will be :
- Bleeding from nose, throat or ears
If cancer is located in urogenital system, signs and symptoms will include:
- Irritation in urination
- Bowel movements become difficult
- Bleeding or mass in vagina or rectum
If cancer is located in arms or legs, symptoms include:
- Lump or swelling in limbs or arms
- Affected area become painful
Although exact cause of rhabdomyosarcoma is not known but certain mutations are thought to play role in the development of cancer. Mutations arises in the DNA which leads to uncontrolled and abnormal cell division. This results in the formation of tumor that can invade nearby structures and can also metastasize throughout the body.
Complications of rhabdomyosarcoma include:
- Spread of cancer to other areas of body like lungs, lymph nodes and bones
Diagnosis of this patient depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination. Along with this other tests are also required for diagnosis like:
- CT scan, MRI, bone scan, X-ray, Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Biopsy can also be done to test rhabdomyosarcoma. Types of biopsy that can be utilized are needle biopsy and surgical biopsy.
Treatment options include:
- Surgery but it’s not always feasible because of the location of rhabdomyosarcoma near important structures
- Radiation therapy
- Clinical trials