Rhabdomyosarcoma - Childhood: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of children who are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma each year. You will read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

About 350 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma each year. More than half of childhood rhabdomyosarcomas are diagnosed in those under age 10. Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for 3% of all new childhood cancers each year in the United States. It is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of children live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for children younger than 14 is 70% overall. However, the rate varies widely depending on the tumor location, stage and risk group, and the child’s age. Children aged 1 to 9 have a better prognosis than younger patients or older patients. 

The 5-year survival rate for children who have low-risk rhabdomyosarcoma is greater than 90%. The 5-year survival rate for children in the immediate risk group ranges from 60% to 80%. When the cancer becomes high risk, spreading widely in the body, the 5-year survival rate ranges from 20% to 40%.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for children with this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on the number of children with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. People should talk with their child’s doctor if they have questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017, and the ACS website.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.