Sarcomas are cancerous cysts in the body’s soft tissues (fleshy components), bone, and fatty tissue. This malignancy is distinct from carcinomas. Rhabdomyosarcoma is more common in the organs of the body, particularly those that contain glands. Lung cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are all examples of carcinomas.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a form of tissue sarcoma. Rhabdomyosarcomas develop in the body’s muscles. It can afflict anyone at any age, however, they are more frequent in children than adults. Rhabdomyosarcomas are treated with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy, or a combination of the three. Small localized tumors may be treated with surgery alone. Treatment will cure about two out of every three children with Rhabdomyosarcoma. However, the prognosis is also determined by the damaged bodily component.
Types of Rhabdomyosarcoma
Different rhabdomyosarcoma types affect different age groups at distinctive times. Here are the three common stages:
- Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma is most common in children under the age of six.
- Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma mainly affects teenagers or older children. It has a higher proclivity for aggressiveness than embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma.
- Anaplastic Rhabdomyosarcoma is the rarest. Adults are more prone to develop it than youngsters.
Causes of Rhabdomyosarcoma
Rhabdomyosarcomas have no recognized cause. Children with specific genetic abnormalities, such as neurofibromatosis or Li-Fraumeni syndrome are more likely to develop rhabdomyosarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in areas where radiotherapy was previously used to treat another form of cancer. Sarcoma usually does not appear for at least ten years after radiotherapy treatment. High birth weight, X-ray radiation while in the mother’s womb before delivery, childhood illnesses, and childhood exposure to specific chemicals have all been linked to an elevated risk in studies.
Signs and symptoms of Rhabdomyosarcoma
Rhabdomyosarcoma(children’s cancer) can begin almost anywhere in the body. Hence the symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms vary depending on the size and location of the tumor, its size, and whether or not it has migrated to other parts of the body.
- A lump or swelling may be the first sign of a tumor in the neck, chest, leg, back, arm, or groin (including the testicles). Rhabdomyosarcoma can occasionally cause pain, redness, and other issues.
- Tumors surrounding the eye might cause the child’s eye to protrude out or make them look cross-eyed. Your vision might as well be affected due to Rhabdomyosarcoma.
- Earaches, headaches, nosebleeds, and sinus congestion can be symptoms of tumors in the ear or nasal sinuses.
- Tumors in the bladder or prostate tumors can usually lead to blood in the urine. Cancer in the vagina can, however, lead to Vaginal bleeding. These tumors may grow large enough to make urination or bowel motions difficult or excruciating.
- Vomiting, gut pain, and constipation are all symptoms of pelvic or abdominal tumors.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma rarely affects the bile ducts (small tubes that connect the liver to the intestines), but it can cause jaundice when it does.
- When Rhabdomyosarcoma progresses, it can cause symptoms including lumps under the skin, bone pain, a persistent cough, weakness, or weight loss.
Different stages of Rhabdomyosarcoma
Grading is critical for determining the appropriate treatment and determining how likely the cancer is to be cured.
- Low-grade: Cancer cells resemble normal cells in appearance. Low-grade malignancies grow slowly and have a lower risk of spreading to other regions of the body.
- High-grade: The cells are aberrant in every way. Cancers of a higher grade grow faster and are more prone to spread to other body regions. Rhabdomyosarcomas of the embryonic and alveolar kinds are always high-grade.
The term “localized disease” refers to cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. The term “metastasis” refers to cancer that has spread to different sections of the body. Although multiple staging approaches are used, sarcomas can be split into four stages:
- Stage 1: The sarcoma is limited to a specific area.
- Stages 2 or 3: The sarcoma has progressed to nearby tissues but not to any other parts of the body.
- Stage 4: The sarcoma has spread to other places of the body at this stage.
Other characteristics that are now considered for staging include the tumor’s location and the tumor’s size.
Diagnosis of Rhabdomyosarcoma
A healthcare provider will do the following tests to diagnose Rhabdomyosarcoma:
- X-ray: Images of tissues, bones, and organs are created using energy beams.
- CT scan: This type of imaging uses a computer to create a three-dimensional image. A revolving x-ray camera is used to acquire detailed cross-sectional photos of the tumor and see if Rhabdomyosarcoma has spread to other organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI is a type of imaging that takes detailed photographs within the body using a heavy magnet and radio waves.
- PET scan: Doctors occasionally use this test to determine if and where Rhabdomyosarcoma (children’s cancer) has spread.
- Bone scan: This is done to determine whether cancer cells have moved to the bone. A scanner and low-level radioactive material are used.
- Biopsy: Cells or tissues are extracted for evaluation during surgery. Biopsies can be conducted with or without the use of a needle. Pathologists, who are specially trained doctors, can next examine the tissue under a microscope.
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: In this case, bone and bone marrow fluid are taken from the lower back and pelvis bones. This is done to see if cancer has spread to the adjoining sites.
Treatment of Rhabdomyosarcoma
If your child’s tumor is cancerous, surgery might be necessary to remove all or part of the tumor. The location of cancer determines the complexity of the surgery.
Chemotherapy may be administered to your child to eliminate Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer cells that were missed during surgery. Chemotherapy medications are commonly given to people with Rhabdomyosarcoma for six months to a year, once a week at first, then less frequently.
These medications effectively eliminate cancer cells, but they can also destroy healthy cells, resulting in hair loss, nausea and vomiting, exhaustion, and other undesirable effects. The majority of these side effects are relatively transient, and children have more tolerance to chemotherapy than adults.
Suppose tests reveal that a portion of a tumor is still present after surgery and chemotherapy in your child’s body. In that case, they may be given radiation to try and shrink or eradicate it. Radiation kills cancer cells by emitting high-energy X-rays. It’s typically administered for a few weeks, five days a week.
Radiation can have both immediate and long-term adverse effects. Assess these consequences with your kid’s doctor again before the beginning of radiation therapy. It’s more difficult for physicians to remove all the cancer cells without injuring good tissue if the tumor is in a tough-to-reach location or overlaps with essential organs. If this is the case, surgery may not be the first step in your child’s therapy.
If surgery appears to be too difficult or dangerous, your child may initially get chemotherapy or radiation to try to decrease the tumor. This might make it easier for doctors to remove it later.
When to seek professional help
Contact your doctor right away if you or your kid is experiencing any of the following rhabdomyosarcoma symptoms.
- A lump or swelling that persists in one area of the body
- A puffy eyelid or a bulging eye
- Feeling nausea and headache
- Experiencing difficulties while urinating or during bowel movements
- Blood in the urine
- Nasal, throat, vaginal, or rectum bleeding
- Scrotum enlargement on one side
Prevention of Rhabdomyosarcoma
Rhabdomyosarcoma in adults can be decreased by making specific lifestyle changes, but there are no known treatments to prevent children’s cancer at this time.
Age, gender, and certain genetic diseases are the only recognized risk factors for Rhabdomyosarcoma. Since there are no recognized lifestyle or environmental factors of Rhabdomyosarcoma, there is no known way to prevent these malignancies at this time.
Many things influence the perspective, including:
- Type, location, and size of the tumor
- Is it possible to remove cancer surgically or not
- Whether or not cancer has progressed
- Age and general health of the patient
- The tumor cells’ individual properties
- If there’s anything in cancer that can be used as a target for specialized therapies
Rhabdomyosarcoma requires immediate medical attention as well as ongoing follow-up care. Since these cancers are not familiar, it’s critical to seek therapy at a facility that has experience treating children with them. Pediatric oncologists are constantly working to improve the prognosis of young cancer patients.
Regular monitoring of every symptom can help a doctor figure out what’s wrong. It’s also a great idea to maintain track of when and how often symptoms appear. If a person has signs that point to a brain tumor, it’s vital to receive a diagnosis and therapy as quickly as possible to keep the cancer cells from growing. Visit University Cancer Centers today to speak with a qualified cancer specialist.