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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any long-term risks from chemotherapy and radiation for paratesticular RMS patients?

People who have high doses of chemotherapy or radiation are at risk for other cancers. Risks are higher for lymphoma, leukemia and, sarcoma. This occurs in a small number of patients after 10 years of recovery. Long-term follow up care is helpful.

Chemotherapy can cause the testes to be small and sperm count to be low. Testosterone replacement is not often needed.

What have studies taught doctors about the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma?

Scientists have learned that radical surgery to remove organs and tissues is not needed. The best way to treat RMS is with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. This lowers the risks of incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

Are there controversies in rhabdomyosarcoma treatment?

Combination therapy can cure rhabdomyosarcoma. But scientists and oncologists don't understand the exact role of each type of treatment. Research to learn the best treatment for a better quality of life is going on.

Can paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma appear later in life?

Paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma can show up in adult men. CT scans are not the best way to find if retroperitoneal lymph nodes were involved. A large study from Indiana University suggests that adult patients should have their lymph nodes removed, then get chemotherapy.

If rhabdomyosarcoma affects the vagina, will treatment alter sexual function?

If part of the vagina is removed during surgery, the uterus and ovaries are untouched. Often, girls will grow up with normal sexual function.

Questions to ask your Health Care Provider

  • What kind of rhabdomyosarcoma does my child have?
  • Has the tumor spread?
  • Please explain how this cancer works and how it affects my child?
  • What tests will we need to confirm the diagnosis?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What are our treatment options?
  • How do you decide on the best treatment plan?
  • What are the risks and side effects of each treatment?
  • Are there any clinical trials we might want to consider?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • What is the chance my child's cancer will be cured?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn't work? Or, if the cancer comes back?
  • How will treatment affect our child's future?
  • Could treatment affect my child's ability to have children later on?
  • Can we have treatment in a way that doesn't get in the way of our schedule (school, work, etc.)?
  • What type of follow-up and rehab will be needed after treatment?
  • Can you give me the names of experienced doctors for a second opinion?