Rhabdomyosarcoma - Childhood: Risk Factors

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing this type of cancer. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.

Doctors and researchers don’t know what causes most childhood cancers. In most cases of rhabdomyosarcoma, there are no clear risk factors. However, it has been shown that children who have the following rare, inherited conditions have a higher risk of developing rhabdomyosarcoma:

  • Costello syndrome
  • Cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome

A few cases of rhabdomyosarcoma have been associated with some problems that occur in development before a child is born, called congenital anomalies. Parental use of cocaine and marijuana before a child’s birth may increase a child’s risk of developing rhabdomyosarcoma.

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