By: Autumn Dow
What is it?
Signs, Symptoms, and Detection
- Neuroblastoma is most commonly found in children under 5 years of age
- It is usually found when the tumor begins to grow quite large
- Tumors in the abdomen or pelvis- the child might not want to eat (leads to weight loss)
- Tumors can also press against or grow into blood and lymph vessels in the abdomen or pelvis, which can stop fluids from getting back to the heart.
- Tumors in the chest could press on the superior vena cava, which could lead to swelling in the face, neck, arms, and upper chest (sometimes with a bluish-red skin color)
- Tumors could also press on the throat or windpipe, which can cause coughing, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing
- Pressure on other nerves near the spine could affect the child's ability to feel or use their arms or legs
- Pediatric oncologist (chemotherapy and other medicines)
- Pediatric radiation oncologist (radiation therapy)
- Pediatric cancer surgeon (surgery- if situation is critical)
- Size and location of the tumor(s)
- Response of the tumor to therapy
- Child's tolerance of specific medications, procedures, and therapies
Low-risk patients carry more than a 90% long-term survival rate, but patients with much more advanced stages of neuroblastoma have a much less optimistic prognosis. Patients under the age of 18 months have a greater chance of survival than those who are older.
For significant cases, the survival rate after diagnosis is about 5 years.
- Mutations in the ALK and PHOX2B genes have been shown to increase the risk of developing sporadic and familial neuroblastoma.
- Deletion of certain regions of chromosome 1 and chromosome 11 are also associated with neuroblastoma.
- Only about 1-2% of affected individuals have familial neuroblastoma. The other percent is affected by sporadic neuroblastoma.