Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma?

Your child may not experience any symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma until the tumor is very large, especially if it is located deep in the muscles or stomach. Common symptoms may include:

  • a mass that can be seen or felt and may or may not be painful
  • bleeding from the nose, vagina, rectum or throat (if the tumor is located in these areas)
  • tingling, numbness or pain if the tumor compresses a nerve in the affected area
  • protrusion of the eye or drooping of the eyelid, which may indicate a tumor behind the eye

Keep in mind that some similar symptoms can be associated with more common medical problems and conditions. It is important to consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

What causes rhabdomyosarcoma?

Rhabdomyosarcoma is not associated with environmental factors, and it is important to keep in mind that there is nothing that would have prevented the tumor from developing. Some rhabdomyosarcoma tumors are thought to begin developing in the fetus. Rhabdomyoblasts are the cells at the initial stages of development of an unborn baby. These cells will mature and develop into muscles. Rhabdomyosarcomas usually have some type of chromosome abnormality or genetic mutation in the cells of the tumor.