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What is rhabdomyosarcoma?

Rhabdomyosarcoma starts in muscle cells or in tissues that are precursors to muscle cells. It is a cancerous (malignant) tumour that can invade, or grow into, and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.

Muscle is a type of soft tissue. Different types of soft tissues have different jobs. They give shape to and support the body. They also protect other body tissues and structures and hold them together. There are many different types of soft tissue throughout the body, including muscle, fat, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma that occurs in children. It is rare in adults.

Rhabdomyosarcoma can develop in any muscle in the body. The most common type of rhabdomyosarcoma is called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. It makes up 50%–70% of all rhabdomyosarcomas diagnosed in children.


Harold Johns His amazing career and legacy live on today, inspiring a new generation of scientists who are discovering new ways to harness the power of medical imaging to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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