What is rhabdomyosarcoma?
Rhabdomyosarcoma starts in muscle cells or in tissues that are precursors to muscle cells. It is a cancerous (malignant) tumor that can invade and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Muscle is a kind of soft tissue. Different types of soft tissue perform different functions. They determine the shape of the body and provide it with support. They also protect other structures and tissues in the body by holding them together. There are many different kinds of soft tissue found throughout the body, such as fatty tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. It rarely appears in adults.
Rhabdomyosarcoma can start in any muscle in the body. The most common type is embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma. It accounts for 50 to 70% of all rhabdomyosarcomas diagnosed in children.
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common malignant mesenchymal (embryonic connective tissue) tumor in children and adolescents. It represents 60 to 70% of cases and about 5% of all solid tumors at these ages. It is mainly observed at two different ages: in children under 5 years old and in adolescents. There is a slight male predominance. This tumor is rare in adults.
RMS can occur in any part of the body even in areas where there is no striated muscle tissue. RMS spreads mostly locally and involvement of neighboring lymph nodes is most common in limb tumors. The existence of metastases is rare at diagnosis (lungs, bone, bone marrow or subcutaneous tissue).
Types of rhabdomyosarcoma
There are 2 main types of rhabdomyosarcoma.
Embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosed in children. It accounts for about 50 to 70% of all rhabdomyosarcomas diagnosed in children. It affects young children more and is most often diagnosed in children under the age of 10.
Embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma can appear anywhere in the body, but it most often occurs in the head and neck and in organs of the reproductive system and urinary tract.
Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma may appear more often in older children and adolescents. About 20% of rhabdomyosarcomas diagnosed in children are of the alveolar type. Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma can appear anywhere in the body, but it most often occurs in the muscles of the arms and legs, the trunk (chest and abdomen), and the area around the anus.
Rare types of rhabdomyosarcoma
Anaplastic rhabdomyosarcoma rarely affects children.
Sometimes doctors are unable to determine the type of soft tissue sarcoma because the cells do not look like a specific cell type. This is called undifferentiated sarcoma. Doctors may group undifferentiated sarcomas under the category of rhabdomyosarcoma.
Symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma
Symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma can vary depending on the location of the tumor. Rhabdomyosarcoma can start in any muscle. It does this most often in the following parts of the body:
head and neck
organs of the reproductive system and urinary system
extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet)
The most common sign of rhabdomyosarcoma is a lump or swelling that doesn’t go away and gets bigger over time. It may or may not be painful. Other signs and symptoms of rhabdomyosarcoma include the following:
- protruding eye
- difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement
- blood in urine
- bleeding from the nose, throat, vagina, or rectum
Other medical conditions can cause the same symptoms as rhabdomyosarcoma.
Symptoms by location
Rhabdomyosarcoma can appear in any part of the body and cause different signs and symptoms depending on where the tumor started. Here are some common signs and symptoms depending on the location.
Rhabdomyosarcoma around the eye or inside the eyelid can cause:
droopy eyelid (ptosis)
redness or infection around the eye
Head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma can cause:
painless lump or swelling
different aspect of one of the two sides of the face (facial asymmetry)
slightly blurred vision
difficulty in breathing
discharge or bleeding from the nose, throat or ear
facial nerve palsy
Rhabdomyosarcoma in an arm or leg:
can cause a lump or swelling that may be tender or painful.
Rhabdomyosarcoma in the abdomen or pelvis can cause:
swelling of the abdomen
mass in the abdomen
bleeding from the rectum
Rhabdomyosarcoma in the bladder or prostate can cause:
blood in urine
pain when urinating
Rhabdomyosarcoma around the testicles can cause painless swelling of the scrotum.
Rhabdomyosarcoma in the vagina or uterus can cause a lump and discharge or bleeding from the vagina.
Rhabdomyosarcoma in the bile ducts can cause yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice).
The diagnostic process for rhabdomyosarcoma usually begins with a visit to your child’s doctor. He will ask you about the symptoms the child is having and do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or order tests to check for rhabdomyosarcoma or other health problems.
The diagnostic process can seem long and overwhelming. It’s okay to worry, but try to remember that other medical conditions can cause rhabdomyosarcoma-like symptoms. It is important that the healthcare team rule out any other possible cause of the condition before making a diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma.
The following tests are commonly used to diagnose or rule out rhabdomyosarcoma. Many tests that can diagnose cancer are also used to determine its stage, that is, how far the disease has progressed. The doctor may also do other tests on your child to check their general health and help plan treatment.
Medical history and physical examination
Your child’s medical history consists of a check-up of their symptoms, risk factors, and any medical events and conditions they may have had in the past. By noting his medical history, the doctor will ask you questions about his personal or family history of certain genetic disorders, including the following:
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Neurofibromatosis type 1 (von Recklinghausen disease)
- Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
- Costello syndrome
- Noonan syndrome
The physical exam allows the doctor to look for any signs of rhabdomyosarcoma. The doctor does a physical exam and:
check for swelling or lumps;
check and feel any mass to find out its size and to see if it is mobile or attached to tissue under the skin, such as muscle or bone;
feel the lymph nodes surrounding any mass.
Find out more about the physical exam.
Complete blood count (FSC)
FSC is used to assess the quantity and quality of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. An FSC is done to see if the cancer has spread to the bone marrow. The results of the FSC also serve as a benchmark against which physicians can make comparisons during treatment.
Find out more about the complete blood count (CFC).
Blood biochemical analyzes
In blood chemistry tests, the level of chemicals in the blood is measured. They make it possible to assess the quality of functioning of certain organs and also to detect anomalies. Doctors can use the results of blood chemistry tests as a baseline with which to compare during treatment.
Find out more about blood chemistry tests.
In an x-ray, low doses of radiation are used to produce images of body structures on film. Sometimes a chest x-ray is done to see if the cancer has spread to the lungs. But if we do a chest CT scan, we won’t do a chest x-ray.
Find out more about x-rays.
Computed tomography (CT)
In a CT scan, special x-ray machines are used to produce 3-dimensional and cross-sectional images of the body’s organs, tissues, bones and blood vessels. A computer assembles the photos into detailed images.
Doctors use CT for tumors that are located in the chest, abdomen, pelvis, and the space between the peritoneum and the abdominal wall (retroperitoneum). She allows to :
know the size of the tumor;
find out if the tumor has invaded neighboring structures;
check to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes around the tumor;
check to see if the cancer has spread to other organs or tissues, such as the lungs.
Find out more about CT.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
In MRI, strong magnetic forces and radio waves are used to produce cross-sectional images of the body’s organs, tissues, bones and blood vessels. A computer assembles the images into 3-dimensional snapshots.
Doctors use MRI scans for tumors in the head and neck, arm, leg and pelvis. They allow to:
- know the size of the tumor;
- find out if the tumor has invaded neighboring structures;
- reveal the muscle, fat, and connective tissue surrounding the tumor, which helps doctors plan surgery or radiation therapy
- check to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes around the tumor, the spinal cord or brain.
In an ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves are used to produce images of body structures. Ultrasound examines the kidneys and the structures around them. Doctors may also do an ultrasound to look for tumors in the pelvis, including the bladder, prostate, testes, gallbladder, bile ducts, and kidneys.
Find out more about ultrasound.
In a bone scan, radioactive materials that attach to the bones (radiopharmaceuticals) and a computer are used to create an image of the bones. It is used to see if the cancer has spread to the bones.
Find out more about a bone scan.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
In a PET scan, a radioactive material called a radiopharmaceutical is used to detect changes in the metabolic activity of body tissues. A computer analyzes patterns of radioactivity distribution and produces three-dimensional, color images of the region under examination.
PET can be used to:
- differentiate rhabdomyosarcoma from a non-cancerous tumor in a muscle;
- find out if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
PET may be associated with low resolution CT (PET / CT). Newer devices are able to perform PET and CT simultaneously. PET / CT examines metabolic activity in specific areas of the body.
PET may not be available at all cancer treatment centers.
During a biopsy, the doctor removes tissue or cells from the body for analysis in the laboratory. The laboratory report confirms whether or not there are cancer cells in the sample.
A biopsy is the only technique that can diagnose rhabdomyosarcoma with certainty. The biopsy is usually done after a CT or MRI of the tumor.
The most common type of biopsy performed is a surgical biopsy, also called an open biopsy. The doctor makes an opening through the skin to remove a fragment of the tumor. They can also remove lymph nodes near the tumor to see if cancer has spread there. The child is under general anesthesia during the biopsy.
If the doctors can’t do a surgical biopsy, they could do a needle biopsy. There are 2 types of needle biopsy.
In a core biopsy, a needle is used to take a small sample from the tumor. If the tumor is deeply buried, the doctor may use an ultrasound or CT scan to guide the needle into the lump. Find out more about a core biopsy.
In a fine needle biopsy, a fine needle and syringe are used to remove a small amount of fluid or cells. Fine needle biopsy, is most effective for tumors that are just under the skin and that can be easily reached with the needle. Learn more about the fine needle biopsy,.
Bone marrow puncture and biopsy
A bone marrow biopsy and puncture takes tissue or cells from the bone marrow for laboratory analysis. Doctors use a bone marrow biopsy and puncture to find out if the cancer has spread to the bone marrow.
A lumbar puncture, or rachicentesis, is used to remove a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the spine. CSF is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and helps protect them. The CSF taken during the lumbar puncture is examined under a microscope to see if the cancer has spread to the central nervous system (CNS). A lumbar puncture can be done if the tumor is near the tissue around the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges.
Stages of rhabdomyosarcoma
Staging describes or categorizes cancer based on how much cancer is in the body and where it was initially diagnosed. This is often referred to as the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out where the tumor started, how big the tumor is, what parts of the organ have cancer, if the cancer has spread from there. its place of origin and where it has spread.
Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan your treatment and predict the outcome (your prognosis). The stage also depends on where the tumor started and whether it is favorable or unfavorable. The healthcare team also takes other factors into consideration, such as clinical group and risk category.
When doctors describe the stage, they can use the words local or metastatic. Local means the cancer is only found in or near the area where it started, including nearby lymph nodes. Metastatic means in a part of the body farther from the area where the cancer started.
A frequently used staging system for rhabdomyosarcoma is the TNM classification. In the case of rhabdomyosarcoma, there are 4 stages. For stages 1 to 4, the Roman numerals I, II, III and IV are often used. But in order to make the text clearer, we will use the Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3 and 4. In general, the higher the stage number, the more cancer has spread. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about staging.
Find out more about cancer staging.
Where the tumor started
The location where the tumor started is also called the site of the primary tumor. Doctors describe it as either favorable or unfavorable. A favorable site generates a better or more favorable prognosis. An unfavorable site has a poor or less favorable prognosis.
Favorable seats are among others:
region surrounding the eye (orbit)
areas of the head and neck except areas near the meninges (also called nonparameningeal seats)
ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, area next to testes (paratesticular), penis, ureters and urethra
Unfavorable seats include all other seats including the following:
arm or leg muscles
region surrounding the skull
areas of the head and neck near the meninges (parameningeal), including the nasal passages, paranasal sinuses, middle ear, and back of the upper throat
muscles of the central part of the body (trunk)
rear part of the abdomen (retroperitoneum)
The site of the cancer is favorable. The cancer has not spread to a part of the body further from its place of origin.
The site of the cancer is unfavorable. The tumor is 5 cm or less. It may have invaded neighboring regions.
The site of the cancer is unfavorable. The tumor is 5 cm or less. It may have invaded neighboring regions. The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
The site of the cancer is unfavorable. The tumor is over 5 cm. It may have invaded neighboring regions. The cancer may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Cancer is in any site. It has spread to other parts of the body (distant metastasis). It is also called metastatic cancer.
A recurrence of rhabdomyosarcoma means that the cancer comes back after treatment. If it reappears where it first started, it is called a local recurrence. If it reappears in tissues or lymph nodes near where it first started, it is called a regional recurrence. It can also reappear in another part of the body: this is called a recurrence or distant metastasis.
A clinical group is assigned after surgery based on the spread of cancer and the amount of cancer removed during the operation. Each group is classified according to the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS) system. Each group is assigned a number from 1 to 4. In general, the higher the number, the more cancer has spread.
The tumor is localized. It was completely removed by surgery.
The tumor is localized. It was removed by surgery, but cancer cells were found in the margin between the cancer and healthy local tissue all around that was removed with the tumor or in nearby lymph nodes or both.
The tumor was not completely removed by surgery. The cancer may have spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to organs far from the tumor.
The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, bones, bone marrow, and muscles or lymph nodes far from the tumor.
If rhabdomyosarcoma spreads
Cancer cells can spread from where they started to other parts of the body. This is called a metastasis.
Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your child’s healthcare team plan for future treatment and care. If rhabdomyosarcoma spreads, it spreads to the following locations:
distant lymph nodes
Tumors that start in the ear, nose, or sinus often spread to the brain or spinal cord, which is the central nervous system (CNS).
Prognosis and survival for rhabdomyosarcoma
If your child has rhabdomyosarcoma, you may have questions about their prognosis and survival. Prognosis is the act by which the doctor best assesses how the cancer will affect your child and how he will respond to treatment. The prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor who is familiar with your child’s medical history, the type of cancer they have, the stage and characteristics of the disease, the treatments chosen and the response to treatment can review all of this data together with the statistics of your child. survival to arrive at a prognosis.
A prognostic factor is one aspect of your child’s cancer or one of the characteristics of your child that the doctor takes into account when making a prognosis. A predictor factor influences how cancer responds to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictor factors are often discussed together and both play a role in choosing a treatment plan and establishing the prognosis.
The following are the prognostic and predictive factors for rhabdomyosarcoma.
Children aged 1 to 9 tend to have a better prognosis than children aged 10 or older or younger than 1 year old.
Where the tumor started
Where the tumor started in the body can affect the prognosis. Usually, rhabdomyosarcoma that starts in a place where it causes early symptoms is diagnosed earlier, so the tumor has less time to spread and the prognosis is better. Tumors that start in deeper areas of the body and are difficult to reach with surgery have a poorer prognosis.
The tumor that starts in the area around the eye (orbit), areas of the head and neck that are not near the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord (nonparameningeal sites), genitourinary organs ( except kidneys, bladder and prostate), gallbladder or bile ducts have a more favorable prognosis. A tumor that starts in any other location has a less favorable prognosis. We are talking about the bladder, the prostate, an arm, a leg, a hand or a foot, and the regions of the head and neck that are near the meninges, that is, the parameningeal seats. Tumor that starts in one arm or leg tends to metastasize earlier than tumor that starts in another part of the body, so it has a poorer prognosis.
Children with tumors 5 cm or less in diameter have a better prognosis than children with larger tumors.
If the cancer has spread
Children whose cancer has already spread (metastasized) to parts of the body far from the tumor when they are diagnosed have a poorer prognosis. Children with cancer that has spread to regional lymph nodes have a poorer prognosis than children with cancer that has not spread to any lymph nodes. Children with cancer of the brain and spinal cord, or the central nervous system (CNS), have a poor prognosis.
Whether the tumor can be removed completely
The amount of cancer that remains after surgery is also an important prognostic factor. Children whose tumor can be completely removed have the best prognosis.
Type of rhabdomyosarcoma
Alveolar tumor tends to be more aggressive and has a poorer prognosis than embryonic tumor.
Treatments for rhabdomyosarcoma
If your child has rhabdomyosarcoma, their healthcare team will make a treatment plan just for them. It will be based on your child’s health and specific information about cancer. When your child’s healthcare team decides what treatments to offer for rhabdomyosarcoma, they consider the following:
type of rhabdomyosarcoma
Types of treatments
Rhabdomyosarcoma is often treated by combining chemotherapy with topical treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, or both.
Chemotherapy is almost always used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma. It can be given before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor so that it can be completely removed. It is usually given after surgery, whether or not the entire tumor has been removed. It may also be used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma that has spread.
Surgery is often used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma. The goal of surgery is to try to completely remove the tumor. It is only used if the tumor can be removed without causing significant damage or changing the appearance of the child. If this is not possible, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both, may be given first to try to reduce the size of the tumor.
Radiation therapy can be combined with chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor before surgery. It can be given after surgery, along with chemotherapy, to treat a tumor that the surgeon cannot completely remove. It can also be used instead of surgery, if the latter is not possible.
Treatments depending on the location of the tumor
The healthcare team plans treatments based on where the rhabdomyosarcoma has formed in the body.
Region around the eye
Rhabdomyosarcoma that has started in the area around the eye (orbit) may be called orbital rhabdomyosarcoma. He is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy since he often responds well to these treatments.
Head and neck
Treatment for head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma often depends on whether or not the tumor started in an area near the meninges (tissue around the brain and spinal cord).
Rhabdomyosarcoma that starts in areas of the head and neck near the meninges is called parameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma. This includes rhabdomyosarcoma, which starts in the nasal passages, paranasal sinuses, middle ear, and the back of the upper throat. Often, tumors in these areas cannot be removed surgically due to their location. They are often treated with conformational radiation therapy and chemotherapy. If rhabdomyosarcoma has spread to the brain and spinal cord, which is the central nervous system (CNS), then radiation therapy may be given to the brain and spinal cord in addition to treatments given to the primary tumor.
Rhabdomyosarcoma that starts in areas of the head and neck that are not near the meninges is called nonparameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma. Doctors may do a wide local excision to remove nonparameningeal rhabdomyosarcoma that is near the skin. They may also remove a few lymph nodes on the same side of the neck as the tumor. Chemotherapy, sometimes radiation therapy, is given after surgery. If rhabdomyosarcoma cannot be completely removed with surgery, it is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Region around the anus
Rhabdomyosarcoma can appear in the anus (perianal rhabdomyosarcoma). It can also start in the area between the anus and the scrotum or vagina. This is called perineal rhabdomyosarcoma. These rhabdomyosarcomas are usually treated with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, if this does not cause loss of function. The surgery is followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. If the surgery would cause loss of function, then chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used.
The bile ducts include the gallbladder and the bile ducts. Often times, rhabdomyosarcoma in the bile ducts cannot be completely removed with surgery. Surgery is used to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given after surgery.
Area around the testicles
Rhabdomyosarcoma that starts in the area near the testicles is called paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma. It is treated with surgery to remove the testicle and heart.
Doctors may do imaging tests, such as CT, to determine if nearby lymph nodes should be removed and tested for cancer cells. In boys 10 years of age or older, it is usually recommended to remove nearby lymph nodes by surgery, a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. Chemotherapy is given after surgery. Radiation therapy may also be given if the surgeon cannot completely remove the tumor or if there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
Bladder or prostate
Rhabdomyosarcoma that is in the bladder or prostate is usually removed by surgery. Chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy, is often given before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor so that less of the bladder or prostate needs to be removed and their function is subsequently impaired. more normal possible. If the tumor can be removed without loss of function, such as when the tumor is only in the top of the bladder, then surgery is done first, followed by chemotherapy.
Vulva, vagina, uterus, ovary or cervix
Rhabdomyosarcoma that starts in the vulva, vagina, uterus, ovary, or cervix usually responds well to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is usually given first and then surgery to completely remove the tumor, if possible. For rhabdomyosarcoma of the uterus, radiation therapy can be combined with chemotherapy.
Arm, leg, hand or foot
Surgery may be used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma that starts in an extremity (arm, leg, hand or foot) if the tumor can be removed without affecting the function of the limb. Doctors may do imaging tests, such as CT, to determine if nearby lymph nodes should be removed and tested for cancer cells. In children 10 years of age or older, regional lymph nodes are usually removed by surgery. Chemotherapy is often given, with or without radiation therapy, after surgery.
If surgery cannot be done, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may first be used to try to reduce the size of the tumor with the aim of removing it by surgery. In rare cases, doctors may need to remove, or amputate, the affected limb if they cannot remove the tumor with surgery and if it does not respond to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Rhabdomyosarcoma in the hand or foot is often treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy rather than surgery because an operation can affect how well the hand or foot works.
Thorax, abdomen or pelvis
If we can, surgery is done to remove the rhabdomyosarcoma in the chest or abdomen. Chemotherapy is given, with or without radiation therapy, after surgery. When the tumor is large, chemotherapy is given, with or without radiation therapy, before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor and make it easier to remove.
Rhabdomyosarcoma in the pelvis is often difficult to remove with surgery. If it’s possible to remove the tumor, then surgery could be done. If the tumor is large, chemotherapy may be given first, with or without radiation therapy, to reduce the size of the tumor before surgery. Some pelvic tumors can be treated topically with radiation therapy after a surgical biopsy, in addition to chemotherapy.
Rhabdomyosarcoma of the diaphragm is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. You may or may not have surgery after these treatments.
Treatments for metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma
Metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Radiation therapy may be used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma that has spread to the brain, spinal cord or lungs. Radiation therapy can also be given to treat the area where the cancer started, which is the original site. Chemotherapy can also be given to treat metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma. Sometimes the primary site and the site of metastasis are treated with radiotherapy and, sometimes, by surgical removal.
Treatments for recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma
Treatments for rhabdomyosarcoma that recurs after treatment are based on the following:
recurrence in the area where the cancer started (local recurrence) or in another part of the body (distant metastasis or distant recurrence)
treatments already administered
time since last treatment
Treatment of recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma
may include chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy or a combination of these treatments.
Surgery may be used to remove the tumor that reappears in the same place as the original tumor. Cancer may be removed from the lungs, lymph nodes or elsewhere with surgery.
Chemotherapy is often used to treat rhabdomyosarcoma that comes back in a different part of the body than the original tumor. The drugs given depend on the type of chemotherapy the child has already received.
Radiation therapy may be used to treat a recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma if it has not already been given to the area where the cancer has come back.
Follow-up after treatment is an important part of caring for children with cancer. Your child will need regular follow-up visits, especially during the first 3 years after treatment. These visits allow the healthcare team to monitor his progress and to know how he is recovering from treatment.
Many children with rhabdomyosarcoma are treated in clinical trials appropriate to tumor type and risk category. The clinical trial protocol, or plan, defines the treatments that will be given. Find out more about clinical trials.
Supportive care is an important part of caring for people with this disease. They empower children and their families to overcome the physical, emotional and spiritual barriers that cancer brings. They help improve the quality of life of children with cancer. They can help children cope with this disease, its treatment and possible side effects. Supportive care can also involve practical matters such as helping at home.
Many programs and services help meet the needs of these children and their families.
Find out more about supportive care for children with cancer:
Talking to your child about their cancer
Some parents think they can protect their child by not telling them anything about cancer. But children usually find that something is wrong. Experts agree that even 3- to 4-year-olds should know the truth depending on their level of understanding.
Collaborate with the care team
Your child’s healthcare team is there to treat your child and to help you and your family. Building good relationships takes time and requires effort on both sides. Good communication between you, your child with cancer, and the healthcare team is essential.
The healthcare team relies on you to make appointments and show up on time, administer the right medications at the right time, prepare your child for procedures and watch for illness or side effects. in your child.
You rely on the healthcare team for their medical knowledge, expertise in performing procedures, good judgment, the care of your child and clear communication. But you are the ones who know your child best and can help by explaining how your child is coping with the situation and making them aware of any side effects, concerns or problems they may be having. You can teach the healthcare team how they can best help your child. You can also help by keeping communication open between all members of the healthcare team.
Tips for taking care of your child
As your child goes for tests and receives treatment, you may feel overwhelmed with everything you need to take care of, including medical information, appointments, and medications. The following tips can help you stay organized:
Keep all of your child’s cancer medical records and information in a binder or notebook.
Keep a paper and telephone list of all important contacts.
Keep a chart of all medications.
Keep a journal about your child’s treatment.
Keep copies of your child’s treatment records.
Helping your child cope with testing and treatment
Children respond to tests and treatment differently depending on their age, stage of development – that is, how they behave and what they are able to understand, and their personality. Some children can become dependent and demanding. Others may turn in on themselves or express their frustrations with their parents or caregivers.
Talking to the child about the tests or treatment before they happen can help them prepare physically and mentally. Many families find it helpful to visit the room where the test or treatment will take place and meet the people who will be performing the procedure.
Some tests or treatments done in the presence of cancer can be unpleasant or painful. Being stressed about the test can make the pain worse.
Nutrition for children with cancer
Pain in children
Help your child adapt
Stay in the hospital
Long term survival
The word “cancer” is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. We also speak of malignant tumors or neoplasms. One of the hallmarks of cancer is the rapid multiplication of abnormal growing cells, which can invade nearby parts of the body and then migrate to other organs. This is called metastasis, which is the main cause of death from cancer. Types of cancer (in alphabetical order of the area concerned):
Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.