About

Neuroblastoma


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.


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.

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.

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
  • Loss of appetite (child complains about feeling full)
  • Weight loss
  • Problems urinating or having bowel movements
  • Swelling in the legs or scrotum due to pressure on the lymph or blood vessels

If the tumor is in the chest or neck, it may cause:

  • Swelling in the face, neck, arms, or upper chest
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Coughing and trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Drooping eyelids and small pupils
  • Eyes that appear to bulge or have bruising

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

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
  • Loss of appetite (child complains about feeling full)
  • Weight loss
  • Problems urinating or having bowel movements
  • Swelling in the legs or scrotum due to pressure on the lymph or blood vessels

If the tumor is in the chest or neck, it may cause:

  • Swelling in the face, neck, arms, or upper chest
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Coughing and trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Drooping eyelids and small pupils
  • Eyes that appear to bulge or have bruising

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

 

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