Your doctor will recommend treatment based on several factors, including:
The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible. He or she will try to minimize damage or disfigurement when doing so, but that can be difficult. In some case, the surgeon must remove all or part of a limb. In other cases, the limb can be saved.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is almost always given after surgery. It destroys any remaining cancer cells where the tumor was removed. It can also kill small pockets of cancer cells that may be present in other parts of the body.
The doctor may recommend radiation therapy for some patients. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be recommended if the entire tumor was not removed during surgery. It may also be used if the cancer is higher risk but has not spread to distant sites.
Treatments for rhabdomyosarcoma may cause side effects. These include hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infection. Your doctor will help you to manage these side effects. Longer term side effects can also occur later on in life. This can include the early development of heart disease or problems with memory. Again all of these side effects are generally well tolerated. Doctor's will choose the treatment most likely to help cure the patient of the sarcoma, and without treatment, the disease may be fatal.
Treating cancer in children requires special considerations. The medical team should consider and try to limit the possible long-term side effects of cancer treatment. These include:
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