A rhabdosarcoma (also sometimes called a rhabdomyosarcoma) is a very dangerous type of cancer which develops from striated muscle tissue. It most often strikes children between the ages of 2 and 6 and occurs slightly more often in boys than girls. It tends to cause a noticeable lump or swelling, making it more obvious than other types of childhood cancer. The major treatments for this type of sarcoma are surgery followed by radiation or chemotherapy. Chemo and radiation are sometimes used alone if surgery is risky due to the location of the primary tumor.

There are three major forms of this cancer:

  • alveolar rhabdosarcoma: this cancer typically develops in the extremities, body or eye cavities.
  • embryonal rhabdosarcoma: this cancer, which strikes infants and young children, develops in the head, neck, extremities or lower genitourinary tract.
  • pleiomorphic rhabdosarcoma: this cancer strikes adolescents and adults and typically develops in the extremities.

Some of the information in this writeup was gleaned from an article at http://healthlink.mcw.edu/. The rest was taken from the science dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/; I oversaw the development of the dictionary (the website was mothballed in 1998) and I believe I wrote the entry this is based on.

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