We’ve normally heard of adults getting cancer. However, malignant rhabdoid tumor is one such cancer that is more common in infants and children. There is no exact cause behind the formation of this tumor, that can happen in the kidneys, muscles or any other soft tissues and then spread rapidly in the body. When the same tumor is formed in the brain, it is called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor.
Let’s get a deeper understanding of this disease.
About Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor
MRT is considered to be a rare disease. The average age for getting rhabdoid tumor is 15 months. The child could be younger than 6 months too. However, in most cases, the child is between 11 to 18 months old. In the rarest cases, children above the age of 6, teenagers and adults have also been infected.
The cause of the disease remains quite unknown. At the most, the chances are that it is due to a genetic mutation, which may or may not get detected. It is a mutation or loss of a gene called INI1/hSNF5.
Types of Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor
There are many soft tissue tumors that can develop in a child’s body due to genetic mutation or loss. The Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor is made up of large cells and can develop either in the soft tissue or the central nervous system. Its 2 main types include:
Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor: This grows inside the brain.
Extra-Cranial Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor: This grows outside the brain, in the soft tissues or organs like muscles, kidneys or liver.
What Are the Symptoms of a Rhabdoid Tumor?
It may be difficult to detect symptoms of rhabdoid tumor at the early stage as the child may not be able to show signs of pain or discomfort in the body. Its key symptoms are:
Development of a mass or lump in the abdomen
- Difficulty in urinating
- Blood present in the urine
- Fussiness out of pain or discomfort
Treatment for Rhabdoid Tumor in 2022
Usually, the treatment for MRT includes multiple therapies. Here’s the order in which doctors proceed with the problem:
Doctors try their level best to remove the tumor from the body in one go. If the tumor hasn’t spread in the body yet, the disease might get cured at this stage itself. If the tumor has spread in the entire organ – say in the kidneys, the doctor might have to remove the organ from the body too.
If the disease isn’t cured after the surgery and the cancer is spread into the tissues, it’s time to use chemotherapy drugs. This may involve side effects as the medicines kill the healthy cells along with the cancer cells too.
This mode of treatment is only given to infants who are above 6 months old. It is meant to kill any other remaining cancer cells in the body but might also kill other normal and healthy cells.
Stem cell transplant
This is a call taken before starting with chemotherapy – the doctors temporarily remove only some of the healthy cells from the body. After the chemotherapy or radiation therapy is over, these healthy cells are restored in the body to help the child recover faster.
Providing Supportive Care
Cancer treatments are very harsh on the body. when performed on a child, the side effects, discomfort and weakness simply multiply. This is why extra care and support is provided to children throughout and even after the treatment to make them feel more comfortable about it.
They are given therapies to prevent and/or treat various side effects, complications and infections they go through due to the treatment. After the treatment, they may be given psychosocial, nutritional and genetic counseling to help them recover completely.