Introduction Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma encountered in childhood and adolescence. Early diagnosis of pediatric cases is critical to improving outcomes, especially when socioeconomic status and geographical access to specialist services can reduce opportunities for early cancer detection and treatment.
Objective The objective of this study is to determine factors that can delay referral and treatment in specialist pediatric oncology center upon our population specificities.
Methods This retrospective study involved 31 children between 2003 and 2013. Children affected by histologically confirmed RMS occurring as a primary lesion in the orofacial area were included.
Results The median age was 8 ± 4.22 years (range: 3 months - 15 years). The male to female ratio was 1.8:1. Most of the patients had advanced stage disease at presentation (81.7% group had 3-4 pretreatment staging) with parameningeal involvement in 80.6% of the cases. The 2-year event-free survival rate was 17.7 ± 7.8% for all the patients. Delay of admission to our unit and abandonment of treatment seem to be important factors for the dismal prognosis.
Conclusion Patient's location, socioeconomic status and health care coverage have had an impact on longer delays in seeking care and on follow-up. More studies are needed for implementation of a better management practices and a better supportive care upon specificities of our population.