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.
I was in total shock when I heard the diagnosis of cancer. Cancer to me was an adult’s disease. Being a 13-year-old teenager, it certainly wasn’t even on my radar.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.