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Neuroblastoma Overview

Sheba Medical Center in Israel is the largest hospital in the region. With our expert medical professionals, extensive facilities, groundbreaking treatments, we provide neuroblastoma treatment that is unmatched by any other facility around.

Our methods focus on treating the patient, not the disease. Each case is approached with the utmost care by our multidisciplinary team of specialists who use state-of-the-art technology to assist them in diagnosis, staging, and treatment. Since no two cases are alike, our expert doctors come together to build individualized treatment plans for each child diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

At Sheba, you know you’re in good hands with physicians who have trained at internationally renowned cancer centers around the world. Our team of medical professionals also includes nurses, psychologists, social workers, and therapists for complete holistic care. You’ll never have to worry about being in the dark when it comes to your child’s treatment. We aim to support you and keep you fully informed throughout your child’s treatment here at our clinic.

Neuroblastoma - Sheba Medical Center

About Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma (NB) is a type of pediatric cancer that originates in immature nerve cells, usually in or around the adrenal glands. It can also develop in other areas of the chest, neck, or near the spine. It most commonly affects children under the age of 5, although it may rarely occur in older children.

What is Neuroblastoma?

Cancer is when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. It can happen at any site in the body and spread to other areas, but the type of cancer a person has is defined by the area in which the cancer originated.

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that originates in the nerves that are part of the sympathetic nervous system. It frequently starts in the adrenal glands — organs that are responsible for producing hormones — which are located above the kidneys. It can also grow in any other part of the body where there is a cluster of nerve cells.

Neuroblastoma is the most common type of cancer in infants and the third most common type of cancer in children.

What are the risk factors for neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer. It is extremely uncommon for a person over the age of 10 to be diagnosed with neuroblastoma, but even in young children, it is considered rare.

The average age of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma is 1-2 years old.

The vast majority of neuroblastoma cases are not hereditary. In about 1-2 percent of cases, a child will have a familial form of neuroblastoma, which happens when one or more family members had neuroblastoma as an infant.

Studies show that children with birth defects may have an increased risk of developing neuroblastoma due to changes in genes during fetal development.

Unfortunately, at this time there are no known preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of a child developing neuroblastoma.

What are the symptoms of neuroblastoma?

The signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma largely depend on the location, size, and maturity of the tumor.

If the tumor is in the child’s abdomen, it may cause:
  • Lumps or swelling in the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling in the legs or scrotum due to pressure on the lymph or blood vessels
  • Loss of appetite (child complains about feeling full)
  • Problems urinating or having bowel movements
If the tumor is in the chest or neck, it may cause:
  • Swelling in the face, neck, arms, or upper chest
  • Coughing and trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Eyes that appear to bulge or have bruising
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Drooping eyelids and small pupils

In 2 out of 3 cases, neuroblastomas have already spread by the time they are found. This can cause many other symptoms related to cancer spreading to the lymph nodes or bones, including:

  • Swollen lymph nodes (in the neck, above the collarbone, under the arm, or in the groin)
  • Bone pain
  • Weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the arms or legs
  • Fatigue, irritability, and weakness
  • Frequent infections
  • Excess bruising or bleeding

Request a consultation

Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone. We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

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