Cancer Support Group

Saturday, Apr 17th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT


Neuroblastoma is a solid cancerous tumor that begins in nerve tissue in the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis but usually originates in the abdomen in the tissues of the adrenal gland. By the time it is diagnosed, the cancer usually has spread (metastasized), most commonly to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bones, and bone marrow. Neuroblastoma is predominantly a tumor of early childhood, two–thirds of children with neuroblastoma are diagnosed when they are younger than five years of age. It is often present at birth but is usually not detected until later, in rare cases, neuroblastoma can be detected before birth by fetal ultrasound.

The most common symptoms of neuroblastoma are the result of pressure by the tumor or bone pain from cancer that has spread to the bone. Protruding eyes and dark circles around the eyes are common and are caused by cancer that has spread to the area behind the eye. Neuroblastomas may compress the spinal cord, causing paralysis. Fever, anemia, and high blood pressure are found occasionally. Rarely, children may have severe diarrhea, uncoordinated or jerky muscle movements, or uncontrollable eye movements.

If your child has symptoms that may be caused by neuroblastoma, his or her doctor will conduct a careful examination and order laboratory tests and special X–rays. A computed tomographic (CT) scan, a diagnostic test that uses computers and X–rays to create pictures of the body, may be performed. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, a diagnostic test similar to a CT scan but which uses magnetic waves instead of X–rays, may also be performed.


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