Signs and symptoms

  • Swelling or lump - often these may occur on the head, neck, testes or vagina
  • Nasal blockage or discharge (facial tumour)
  • Haematuria
  • Change in bowel habit, especially constipation
  • Tiredness
  • Pallor

The most common soft tissue sarcoma is rhabdomyosarcoma with over 100 cases a year in children in the UK.


​The most common location for rhabdoimyosarcoma is in the head and neck, but other common sites are the bladder and the testes.

It is possible for it to be found anywhere in the body though. The most common sign is a swelling or lump. 

There are a number of syndromes that result in an increased risk of rhabdomyosarcoma occurring:

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome (type 1)
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
  • Costello sydrome
  • Noonan syndrome


​Usually, a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery is likely to be used.

Depending on stage at diagnosis, the treatment is quite aggressive.



​Rhabdosarcoma has a 5 year survival of 71%.

​The most important prognostic factor however is age.

​Younger children have much better outcomes.

​If diagnosed after the age of 10, survival drops to around 50%.