By: Hannah Skinner

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells that can be caused by the mutation of genes or exposure to carcinogens and harmful chemicals.

What is Rhabdomyosarcoma?

Rhabdomyosarcoma is type of cancer that occurs in children and teens. It begins in Mesenchyemal cells, which are immature cells that usually become muscle. It develops in striated muscles, which are your skeletal voluntary muscles that you can control.

Where does it affect?

Rhabdomyosarcoma can affect anywhere in the body. A majority of cases (39%) occur in the head and Neck. Approximately 24% of cases occur in urinary and reproductive organs, 15% of cases in the arms and legs, and 17% of cases in other places of the body.


While it is not known what specifically cause Rhabdomyosarcoma, cancers in general are caused by the changes and mutations in genes while they are replicated. It is not clear what cause these changes. Some gene changes can be inherited, while others are caused by something going wrong in the DNA replication.

Symptoms and Effects

Rhabdomyosarcoma often occurs in areas that have very noticeable symptoms which allows it to usually be caught early. Depending on the location of the cancer, there will be different symptoms.

Here is a list of different symptoms for the different locations:



Depending on the location and the type of Rhabdomyosarcoma, different treatments are appropriate. If they are able to use surgery on the tumor to get it out then that's what they will do. If the cannot remove the whole tumor, but part of it with surgery than they can use Chemotherapy to get rid of the rest of it. If it cannot be operated on, they will use a mixture of Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy to get rid of the tumor.

Very rarely is this cancer terminal. The rate of survival really depends on what risk type of the cancer you have. The overall 5 year survival rate is about 68%.

5 year survival rates for the risk groups are:

Low risk group - 90%

Intermediate risk group - 60% to 80%

High risk group - 20% to 40%

Works Cited

"Rhabdomyosarcoma - Childhood." Cancer.Net. N.p., 16 June 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.


"Survival Rates for Rhabdomyosarcoma by Risk Group." Survival Rates for Rhabdomyosarcoma by Risk Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.