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Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options for Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma

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Rhabdomyosarcoma of the chest, abdomen, or pelvis

  • For tumors in the chest or abdomen (including the chest wall or abdominal wall): Surgery (wide local excision) may be done. If the tumor is large, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy, is given to shrink the tumor before surgery.
  • For tumors of the pelvis: Surgery (wide local excision) may be done. If the tumor is large, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy, is given to shrink the tumor before surgery. Some pelvic tumors may be treated with biopsy, rather than wide local excision, followed by radiation therapy.
  • For tumors of the diaphragm: A biopsy of the tumor is followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy to shrink the tumor. Surgery may be done later to remove any remaining cancer cells.
  • For tumors of the gallbladder or bile ducts: Surgery is done to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • For tumors of the muscles or tissues around the anus or between the vulva and the anus or the scrotum and the anus: Surgery is done to remove as much of the tumor as possible and some nearby lymph nodes, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Rhabdomyosarcoma of the kidney

  • Surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

Rhabdomyosarcoma of the bladder and prostate

  • For tumors that are only at the top of the bladder: Surgery (wide local excision) is done.
  • For tumors of the prostate or bladder (other than the top of the bladder):
    • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given first to shrink the tumor. If cancer cells remain after chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the tumor is removed by surgery. Surgery may include removal of the prostate, part of the bladder, or pelvic exenteration without removal of the rectum. (This may include removal of the lower colon and bladder. In girls, the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes may be removed).
    • Chemotherapy is given first to shrink the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor, but not the bladder or prostate, is done. Internal radiation therapy may be given after surgery.
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