Rhabdomyosarcoma - Childhood - Statistics

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

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many children are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year. You will also learn some general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

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 69% overall. However, the rate varies widely depending on the tumor location, stage and risk group, and the child’s age.

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 how many children survive this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on children with this cancer in the United States each year. So, your own child’s risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long any child will live with rhabdomyosarcoma. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2016, 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.