Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERM) is an uncommon subtype of soft or connective tissue cancer or rhabdomyosarcoma, in which the mesenchymal derived cancerous cells mimic to the embryo’s basic muscle tissues (those which attached to the bones, i.e. skeletal muscles) developing cells. It is mostly seen in children. Mesenchymal cells or tissues are mesodermal embryonic tissue which develops into muscle tissues, bone tissues, blood vessels, and lymph nodes tissues. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a high-grade tumor (having the ability to spread quickly) that arises from the striated skeletal muscle cells, which failed to differentiate fully in its specific form. It is generally, considered as the disease of childhood, as most cases were seen under 15 years of age.
Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERM) is an uncommon cancer that mostly affects the population under the age of 15. Most of the cases are diagnosed after the 15th day of birth and before the age of 15. It is observed that male babies are affected more than females babies.
The exact cause of the Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma(ERM) is unknown. However, studies have suggested that certain medical conditions can be the cause of this cancer which are: Fraumeni syndrome: a rare genetic problem that makes an infant develops cancer at a certain time of his/her life. Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome: a by-birth genetic problem that can cause excessive growth of the body parts, including the internal organs of the body. Costello syndrome & Noonan syndrome: these cause deformities, developmental delays (word Syndrome stands for a condition in which a group of symptoms is found together).
Signs and Symptoms
Sign and symptoms of Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERM) depend on the size and location of cancer. The symptoms which are most noted are;
- A painless lump in the child body which is usually palpable
- Eye bulging
- Swollen eyelid
- Difficulty in passing urine and stool
- Sometimes blood in urine and stools
- Numbness and weakness of muscles if the lump is pressing nerves of extremities.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are:
- Radiological and imaging techniques like CT-scan, PET-scan, MRI, and X-ray.
- FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology)
- Tumor Biopsy
Treatment can be curative and symptomatic. It depends on the stage of cancer. Treatments which are usually applied are:-
- Surgical removal of the tumor or cancerous growth
- Radiation Therapy
What support can we give for Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma?
Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare cancer, meaning it is not as well known as other forms of cancer. Without a Ribbon is an Australian organisation that provides support for individuals who suffer from rare cancers. We provide a designated platform for Warriors to obtain information specific to their Rare Cancer. We also provide annual opportunities for our Warriors to meet and learn from each other. If you suffer from rare cancer such as Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, we can help and support you through your journey thanks to the generous donations we receive. Click the link below to sign up and become a Warrior today!
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