Rhabdomyosarcoma is a malignant tumor originating from the skeletal (striated) muscle.

Soft tissue sarcoma appears when the cells of these tissues begin to divide uncontrollably. They form a tumor. Soft tissue sarcoma is more common in adults and adolescents than in children. In children, rhabdomyosarcoma is most common, while in adults this tumor is extremely rare.

In most babies, rhabdomyosarcoma begins to grow before the age of 10 years. And almost all cases of this disease occur before the age of 20 years.

The cells of this tumor are like rhabdomyoblasts, the cells of babies who have not yet been born and which, after all, should become muscle cells. We can say that tumor cells are similar to muscle cells of an unborn baby.

Rhabdomyosarcoma can grow in any part of the body, even where there are no large muscles, but traditionally it is localized in the head, neck, abdomen, limbs and genitourinary system.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is more common in boys than girls. The peoples of the Caucasus are at increased risk.   

About 60-70% of children diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma are younger than 10 years old, but even in adolescence there is a risk of developing this tumor.

There are several types of rhabdomyosarcomas:


This type traditionally develops in babies in the head, neck, bladder or genitals. The most common type of tumor in childhood.


This type of rhabdomyosarcoma traditionally occurs in adolescence and is localized in the large muscles of the spine, arms or legs.

Undifferentiated or soft tissue sarcomas

These types of sarcomas are not associated with specific cells, but are traditionally treated as rhabdomyosarcomas.


Symptoms depend on where the tumor grows. Sometimes children or parents notice a bump or swelling that does not go away with time. Initially, traditionally, it does not hurt, but over time it begins to bring anxiety. Almost all babies have common symptoms: lethargy, loss of appetite and body weight.

A tumor that grows in the tissues behind the eye causes it to bulge. A tumor growing in the nose can cause bleeding or a runny nose. With a tumor in the bladder, blood may appear in the urine. This happens because the tumor presses on healthy organs and prevents them from working properly.


  • Blood tests
  • X-ray examination of the lungs to exclude metastases.
  • Ultrasound examination provides high information content about the degree of tumor spread, the detection of metastases.
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Biopsy – During a biopsy, the doctor removes a small piece of your body for examination in order to carefully examine 30% of the cells that make up it.
  • bone scan


  • Operation . During the operation, the surgeon removes the tumor (or part of it, if it is unbelievable to remove all of it) and the tissues that surround it, because they may contain tumor cells.
  • Radiation therapy . This treatment uses a machine that aims X-rays precisely at the tumor to destroy the tumor cells and shrink the tumor.
  • Chemotherapy . During chemotherapy, very strong drugs are taken that destroy the cells of the tumor, reducing its size.
  • Bone marrow transplant . If the tumor has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body, the patient may need to undergo high-dose therapy and then a bone marrow transplant.

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