MSK Kids

Experts in the Care of a Rare Muscle Tumor

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare sarcoma that develops in the muscles and can cause pain and swelling. The different types and grades of rhabdomyosarcoma require different treatment approaches. At MSK Kids, we use precision genetic testing to assess rhabdomyosarcomas. Our doctors were the first to identify a genetic mutation found in some people with the embryonal form of the disease. Our rhabdomyosarcoma experts have seen more patients with this tumor than most healthcare professionals.

This information is about sarcoma in children.

Learn about soft tissue sarcoma in adults.

What type of rhabdomyosarcoma tumor does my child have?

If your child has rhabdomyosarcoma, our doctors will first determine what type it is. It may be:

  • embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, the more common type, which is found in the head and neck area or near the genital and urinary organs
  • alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, which is found in the arms, legs, chest, belly, genitals, or anal area

Who gets rhabdomyosarcoma?

About 350 children, teens, and young adults in the United States are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma each year. It is slightly more common in boys and often occurs before age 5.

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