While children with localized rhabdomyosarcoma enjoy a long life, some will face the challenge of relocating their cancer to another part of the body. If your child develops the symptoms listed above, it's time to get them checked out by a medical professional. Your child's survival rate will depend on several factors, including the size and location of the original tumor and its appearance under a microscope.
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The primary symptom of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma is pain in the affected area. This is not the case with limb-related symptoms. Rhabdomyosarcoma can also develop in a child's genitourinary system. However, the majority of these tumors begin in the soft tissues of the body. The tumors develop from rhabdomyoblasts, the cells that form the skeletal muscles of the unborn child.
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Other symptoms of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma can be vague and similar to those of other childhood conditions. Because childhood rhabdomyosarcoma symptoms are often detected early, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when a tumor is first noticed. Symptoms may be painless or non-existent, depending on the size and location of the tumor. Sometimes, however, a child may experience pain because the tumor is growing.
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Because childhood rhabdomyosarcoma is rare, it's vital to get the diagnosis of the disease early. Your child's healthcare team will evaluate the symptoms and determine a treatment plan. If the diagnosis is confirmed, a pediatric oncologist may suggest a clinical trial that could benefit your child. Then, your child may be eligible for additional treatment options, such as chemotherapy.
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Children with rhabdomyosarcoma can experience several different symptoms, depending on the location of the tumor. Tumors in the muscles and urogenital tract may cause difficulty urination, blood in the urine, bleeding or mucus, or a lump inside the vagina. Tumors in the vagina can cause bowel or urinary obstruction, and they can also cause abdominal or back pain. Symptoms may develop rapidly.
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If RMS begins in the head, the symptoms will vary based on the location and size of the tumor. Some RMS can cause headaches and bulging eyes, or affect urination and bowel movement. Those in the urinary system may experience tingling and weakness. Patients with RMS may also have difficulty breathing or experiencing severe pain. Imaging studies will show the size of the tumor and whether it has spread.
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Treatment options for rhabdomyosarcoma include surgery and chemotherapy. Surgery is usually the first step in treatment. Radiation therapy, however, may be an option if the tumor has spread to other parts of the body. Patients with rhabdomyosarcoma often undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery will most likely result in the removal of part of the tumor, but limbs can often be saved with surgery.
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Children with RMS may experience any of the following symptoms. The lumps in the genitourinary tract are the most common sign. The cancer may not be present or spread, but the symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. For example, a bump in a child's foot may indicate a sports injury or another ailment. However, if the bumps or pain do not go away or get worse, see a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
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The next section of the guide deals with the symptoms and how to deal with them. This section covers tests that can help doctors determine the type of the tumor. You can also view different images of your child using x-rays and MRIs. A CT scan combines multiple X-rays taken from different angles. Ultrasound is another type of test that uses sound waves to produce images. A bone scan uses radioactive material to create images.