If you've recently received the sobering diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), you may be wondering exactly what awaits you during the treatment process. Unlike breast cancer or prostate cancer, RMS is a relatively little-known type of cancer -- many of your family members and friends may find themselves consulting a search engine after hearing of your diagnosis. You may even find yourself resorting to internet research yourself to learn more about your condition and what you should do to rid your body of cancer for good. Read on to learn more about the most effective RMS treatments you may want to pursue after consultation with your oncologist.
What treatment options are most effective for RMS?
RMS is a type of cancer that affects the skeletal muscle tissues -- the muscles that control movement. Depending upon the severity of your RMS and the extent to which it's spread to other parts of your body, your oncologist may recommend surgical removal of any affected muscles. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend a chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment to shrink any tumors that can't easily be removed without harming key muscles, or to kill off any isolated cancer cells that may later metastasize.
When evaluating your treatment options, you'll want to ask questions about the amount of muscle your doctor plans to remove and how this removal may affect your ability to utilize the limb or other body part to which the muscle attached. Depending upon your projected mobility following surgery (and the physical requirements of your career or recreational activities), you may opt for a preliminary course of chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumors and determine whether surgery is needed.
For example, if you're a construction worker and your tumors are concentrated in your lower back, having your physician surgically remove each of the tumors (and surrounding muscles) could leave you unable to ever hoist a power tool over your head again.
Is there anything you should avoid during your treatment?
Because both chemotherapy and radiation can significantly depress your immune system in an effort to kill off the cancer cells, it's crucial to avoid exposure to pathogens during the time you're in treatment. Make sure your friends and family members know to keep sick children at home. You may even want to use a surgical mask if you're going to be in a crowded public place.
Radiation can also render you especially susceptible to damage from the sun's rays (another form of radiation), so those pursuing treatment for RMS during the summer months will want to avoid excessive sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum zinc-based sunscreen.Share
7 June 2016
When it comes to taking care of yourself, some people only think about what they should avoid. However, making health care a priority is as much about preventing as it is about treating existing conditions. When I learned that I had skin cancer a few years ago, all I could think about was all of the sunblock I never put on. I want you to understand how to prevent problems, so that you can live a better life. Check out these articles to understand how to make health care a priority, and when you should visit with your doctor. It might seem like a small decision, but doing a little reading might make all the difference later.