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What is alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma?

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Quick Answer

Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of rare cancer that affects the muscles of the torso, legs and arms. The condition tends to affect mostly teens in which tumors can grow very rapidly, states KidsHealth. Although the cause for this rare cancer is not entirely known, risk factors linked to it can be different types of genetic disorders or diseases.

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Full Answer

Some of these risk factors include Noonan syndrome, Costello syndromea and neurofibromatosis type 1, notes the National Cancer Institute. The main symptom associated with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma is the development of tumors on the affected areas of the body. The tumors may be painful and tend to increase in size.

To diagnose the conditions, some diagnostic procedures used are CT scan, MRI and taking a biopsy tissue sample. If alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma is the diagnosis, then a treatment plan is recommended based on factors, such as the tumor location, size and whether cancer cells have spread to other organs or lymph nodes in the body.

Staging of the tumor is important for treatment. The different stages of rhabdomyosarcoma are from stage 1 through 4. If the cancer is diagnosed in stage 1, then it has not spread to either nearby lymph nodes or body parts and is in a favorable location. Cancer that is in stage 4 has spread to other areas of the body and can be any size, states the National Institute of Cancer. Depending on the stage, size and location, the basic treatment plan for this cancer type can include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

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