Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from the immature nerve cells that are found in several areas of the body. The most common areas for the development of this cancer are around the adrenal glands. However, the cancer can develop in other areas as well such chest, neck and near the spine, where groups of nerve cells exist. The symptoms of the condition include abdominal pain, presence of a mass under the skin that is tender to touch along with constipation or diarrhoea.
HOW IS NEUROBLASTOMA DIAGNOSED?
A general physician will need blood and urine tests along with imaging scans to diagnose the condition. There may be a need of a biopsy as well.
HOW IS NEUROBLASTOMA TREATED?
The main treatments for neuroblastoma are:
• surgery to remove the cancer – sometimes this may be all that's needed
• chemotherapy (where medication is used to kill cancer cells) – this may be the only treatment needed or it may be given to shrink the cancer before surgery
• radiotherapy (where radiation is used to kill cancer cells) – this may sometimes be used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells in the affected area
• high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant – where stem cells from your child are collected, frozen and stored prior to intensive chemotherapy, and are given back to them afterwards
• immunotherapy – where a medication that directly targets the neuroblastoma cells is given.
DID YOU KNOW?
The condition occurs in children aged 5 years or younger. It is very rare in older children.