Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that grows in immature nerve cells in various parts of the body. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in babies, and one of the most common in young children.
Neuroblastoma usually starts in the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys) or in the nerves that run next to the spine in the chest or belly
The cancer can start to develop even before birth
Neuroblastoma often spreads to other parts of the body, such as the bones, skin, and spinal cord
Children have the best outcome if they are young and their cancer hasn't spread
Doctors treat neuroblastoma with surgery, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy
The symptoms of neuroblastoma depend on where the cancer starts and if it has spread.
If neuroblastoma starts in your child's belly, symptoms include:
If neuroblastoma starts in your child's chest, symptoms include:
Your child may have other symptoms if the neuroblastoma has spread to other parts of the body:
Many of these are also the symptoms of more common health problems in children.
Sometimes doctors suspect neuroblastoma after seeing a tumor on an ultrasound during pregnancy. Sometimes doctors feel a lump in your child's belly during a doctor visit. To know for sure if your child has neuroblastoma, doctors will:
If your child has neuroblastoma, doctors will do more tests to see if the cancer has spread, including:
X-rays of all your child's bones
CT scan or MRI of other parts of the body
Taking a sample of bone marrow (bone marrow biopsy) to look for cancer
Doctors usually do:
Surgery to remove the tumor
Chemotherapy (using medicine to destroy cancer cells)
If the neuroblastoma has characteristics that make it especially dangerous, doctors may also do: