Overview

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a rare cancer that forms in soft tissue — specifically skeletal muscle tissue or sometimes in hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus. RMS can occur at any age, but it most often affects children.

Although RMS can arise anywhere in the body, it's more likely to start in the:

  • Head and neck area
  • Urinary system, such as the bladder
  • Reproductive system, such as the vagina, uterus or testes
  • Arms and legs

The outlook (prognosis) and treatment decisions depend on the type of rhabdomyosarcoma, where it starts, tumor size and whether the cancer has spread. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Major advancements in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma have significantly improved outcomes. After completion of treatment, people need lifelong monitoring for potential late effects of intense chemotherapy and radiation.