Health Alert:

See the latest Coronavirus Information including testing sites, visitation restrictions, appointments and scheduling, and more.

Rhabdomyosarcoma Diagnostic Tools and Tests

Our cancer specialists at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing rhabdomyosarcoma and are actively researching better and more precise ways to detect rhabdomyosarcoma.

If rhabdomyosarcoma is suspected, your physician may order tests or a series of tests to determine a diagnosis that include:

  • Medical history and physical exam. You doctor will look and feel for a tumor or mass.
  • Imaging tests. Pictures of the inside of the body can help find out whether a suspicious area might be cancerous, to learn how far cancer may have spread, and to help determine if treatment is working.
    • X-ray
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
    • Computed tomography (CT) scan
    • Chest x-ray
    • Bone scan
    • Ultrasound
    • Lumbar puncture (to collect cerebrospinal fluid
    • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Biopsy. A sample of the suspicious area is removed and tested by an experienced pathologist to determine the type of cancer. A biopsy is the only way to tell if cancer is really present.
    • Sentinel node biopsy. In a sentinel node biopsy, lymph nodes are removed and examined for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, it may be necessary to remove more lymph nodes. This type of biopsy is done to determine if cancer has spread.
  • Laboratory tests. This includes testing of the tumor via biopsy sample, and blood tests, which may aid other diagnostic tools.