What are childhood sarcomas?
A sarcoma is a tumor that grows in the bone or soft tissue (muscles, nerves and fat) anywhere in the body. Sarcomas are rare, especially in young children, accounting for less than 15% of childhood cancers.
Pediatric sarcomas are classified into two major categories: bone sarcomas and soft tissue sarcomas.
Within these two umbrella categories, there are many different types of sarcomas that can develop in children.
Sarcomas can start off being tiny lumps that you can’t feel. They can spread through the body, or metastasize, before they grow big enough to be seen.
Jason Yustein, M.D., Ph.D., a St. Baldrick’s Foundation Board Member and Scientific Program Committee Member, at Emory University School of Medicine, Georgia, explains Ewing sarcoma symptoms, treatment options, and research opportunities.
What is Ewing sarcoma?
Ewing sarcoma is a type of childhood cancer that is most frequently found in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 years old.
Ewing sarcoma — the second most common bone cancer after osteosarcoma — often originates in the long, large bones of the body, including the hip, thigh, shin, chest, and arm bones.
What is alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma?
There are two main types of pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma: embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
- Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) occurs most often in children under 10 years old and is found in the head, neck, urinary tract, or reproductive organs. It is the most common type.
- Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) is more aggressive, occurs more commonly in teens or young adults, and usually starts in the torso, arms, or legs.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue cancer in children, with approximately 350 new cases each year in the United States.
What is embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma?
Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma is a malignant soft tissue tumor that is formed from embryonic skeletal muscle tissue, the type of tissue that grows into skeletal muscles.
When we think about skeletal muscles, we might first think of biceps or hamstrings, but embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma doesn’t usually start in the arms or legs. Most often, these tumors are seen in the head or neck, bladder, or reproductive organs.
What is osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in children. It often originates in the long bones of the body that include the thigh bone, the shinbone, or the bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow, called the humerus.
While osteosarcoma frequently starts in a particular bone, it can potentially move to other sites in the body, such as the lungs and other bones. This movement, known as metastasis, often makes the disease more difficult to treat.
A type of childhood cancer, osteosarcoma is commonly found in children children, teens, and young adults between the ages of 10 and 30. Patients who are 10-20 years of age account for 60% of osteosarcoma cases.
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What is acute myeloid leukemia (AML)?
Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Leukemia cells divide quickly and fail to mature into normal, functioning blood cells.
Acute leukemia progresses rapidly and is classified into two general subtypes:
- When the cancer affects the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, it is called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.
- When the cancer affects other blood cell types, such as red blood cells, platelet-forming cells, and other types of white blood cells, it is called acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.
What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infection. The cells do not grow and develop properly, filling up the bone marrow inside bones, where blood is normally made.
ALL is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for 35% of all cancers in children. Each year, there are about 2,900 new cases of children and adolescents diagnosed with ALL in the United States alone.
Its signs and symptoms resemble other common illnesses, which often leads to other treatments before the leukemia diagnosis is made.
Dr. Chintagumpala’s specific interests include the management of children with all brain tumors, retinoblastoma, bone tumors and kidney tumors. He serves as chair of the Retinoblastoma Sub-Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group and is a leader in conducting clinical trials involving children with brain tumors and Retinoblastoma.
Dr. Rodríguez-Galindo is a member of the St. Baldrick’s Scientific Advisory Committee. His research focuses on retinoblastoma, bone sarcomas, histiocytic disorders and rare childhood cancers.
What is Retinoblastoma?
Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the eye that only occurs in children and typically in very young children. Two-thirds of retinoblastoma patients are diagnosed before they’re 2 years old and more than 90% are diagnosed before turning 5.
What is medulloblastoma?
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. It originates in the back part of the brain called the cerebellum. In up to 1/3 of cases, it can spread to other parts of the brain and spinal cord. Most cases are diagnosed before age 10.
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