About Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) in children
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common form of soft tissue cancer in children. It can affect the head, neck, bladder, vagina, arms, legs, trunk or just about any body part. Most rhabdomyosarcoma cases are diagnosed before the age of 10, are fast growing and can spread to other parts of the body.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Rhabdomyosarcoma signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma might include:
A lump or swelling that does not go away
Bleeding in the nose, vagina or rectum
How rhabdomyosarcoma is diagnosed
If rhabdomyosarcoma is suspected, your child's medical history will be taken and a full physical exam will be performed. The following tests will also be scheduled:
Computerized tomography (CT) scan
A biopsy to get a sample of the lump or tissue. This will be done while your child is under anesthesia.
Bone marrow aspiration
There are many treatments available for soft tissue tumors like rhabdomyosarcoma. Some children will need a combination of the therapies below:
Surgery. If the tumor is in an area that can be reached easily, surgery will be done to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
Radiation therapy using high energy X-rays to shrink the tumor and prevent them from growing.
Fighting pediatric cancer and blood disorders
UW Health Kids Cancer Care specialists offer the most advanced treatment options. Our pediatric cancer and blood disorder experts are national research leaders. We test new therapies and continue to work on therapies for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. For many children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new options.
Meet our team
An experienced team providing your child with the care they deserve
Your child’s care is our top priority and we understand the unique needs they have.
Your child’s team could include:
Oncologists (cancer doctors)
Hematologists (blood disease doctors)
Child life specialists
Pain management specialists
Physical, occupational and speech therapists
Radiologists and radiation technologists
UW Health Kids Cancer Care specialists are dedicated to diagnosing and treating all infants, children and adolescents with cancer, including rhabdomyosarcoma.
Our pediatric oncologists are part of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, which is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. This designation means that the doctors taking care of your child are experts in cancer treatment, research and education.
Care for your child
Receiving care from the UW Health Kids hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant program at American Family Children’s Hospital means you have access to the knowledge and skills of many medical and support specialists for your child’s complex health diagnosis like cancer.
Patient and support services
You’re never alone
There are services available at both American Family Children’s Hospital and in the community to help patients and their families through every step of their journey.
Child life specialists help your child and family cope with any fears and anxieties, and the American Family Children's Hospital patient and family visitor guide features information about:
Positive Image Center
Spiritual care services
Tyler's Place (sibling child care)
Pediatric cancer services
With our expertise comes compassion. Our team considers you and your child part of our family. We will be by your side every step of the way. From diagnosis through treatment and into adulthood, we will care for your child as if they are our own.Learn more