Our website uses cookies. We use cookies to remember settings and to help provide you with the best experience we can. We also use cookies to continuously improve our website by compiling visitor statistics. Read more about cookies



Every year, approximately 25 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor (sarcoma). The tumor is usually a rhabdomyoscarcoma (muscle tumor). Most of the children are not yet 10 years old. The tumor is more common in boys than in girls.

The brochure Muscle and other soft tissue tumors contains comprehensive information on this disease. Please note this brochure is currently only available in Dutch. The most important information is provided below.


Very little is known about what causes rhabdomysosarcoma. Probably something has been damaged in the DNA during a cell division in the nucleus of the cell or a piece of chromosome is missing. Sometimes the cell is damaged in the womb, sometimes after birth. It is still not completely clear what causes this error and why a cell suddenly starts dividing uncontrollably.


The tumor causes a painless lump or swelling that can eventually cause complaints. Children with a facial tumor may have a swollen face, a black or protruding eye, a stuffy nose. They can also suffer from deafness, headaches, crossed eyes, nausea and vomiting. A tumor in the lower abdomen can cause constipation, urinary problems, swollen scrotum, vaginal bleeding or a swollen stomach. A tumor in the arms, legs or trunk causes swelling under the skin or in muscles and tendons.

How are rhabdomyoscarcomas diagnosed?

X-rays, ultrasounds and various types of scans are performed. Also, a piece of tumor is removed under anesthesia and then examined under a microscope.


Children with a rhabdomyosarcoma are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. The treatment depends on the type and location of the tumor. Usually, chemotherapy is administered first, followed by surgery. Surgery is almost always followed by another round of chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy as well.

Chance of recovery

The chance of recovery for children with a rhabdomyosarcoma depends mainly on the location and type of tumor. With a 'relatively favorable tumor' the chance is 70-90%; if the tumor is 'relatively unfavorable', the chance is 50-70%. If there are any metastases, the chance of recovery is lower still. It is difficult to make predictions. Don't be influenced too much by statistics. Every child and every situation is unique.


Children with a rhabdomyosarcoma are treated in the solid tumors department.

Phone 088-9727272