Neuroblastoma is a form of childhood cancer that usually develops in the adrenal glands (they are located on the top of the kidneys). But, it may also start in or spread to other areas of the body, including the spinal cord regions, the chest and the abdomen. It is the second most common cancer found in children.
Neuroblastoma accounts for nearly half of all cancers in infants, making it the most common tumor in infants younger than 1 year of age. Most children with neuroblastoma are diagnosed before 5years of age.
Neuroblastomas are cancers that start in early nerve cells (called neuroblasts) of the sympathetic nervous system, so they can be found anywhere along this system. The tumors may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors may grow and press on nearby areas. When a tumor grows into or presses on an area, it may stop that part of the body from working properly. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause signs or symptoms, need treatment, and may come back.
Many of the signs and symptoms are more likely to be caused by something other than neuroblastoma cancer. But, if your child has any of these symptoms, check with your doctor so the cause can be uncovered and treated, if needed.
The signs and symptoms might be different depending on where the tumor is located, how large it is, how or if it has spread, and if the tumor creates hormones.
If you or a family you know needs assistance with the costs of cancer, please take a look at our resources pages.
Symptoms of neuroblastoma may include:
A hard, painless lump or swelling in the neck
Stomach pain, or enlarged belly
Decreased appetite, unexplained weight loss
Leg weakness, or swelling of the legs
Problems breathing or swallowing
Problems with bowel movements or urinating
Pain in bones
Bumps or lumps in the skin that may appear blue
Even when diagnosed with the same type of tumor, symptoms and outcomes for children are different from adults.
We still don't understand the exact causes of cancer. It seems that it may develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many things in our genetics, our lifestyle, the foods we eat, and the environment we live in may increase or decrease our risk of getting cancer.
Raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of children's cancer can lead to early detection, which in turn may help improve the outcome. Only you can help us reach more families. Please consider a donation to the ACCBF.
American Childrens Cancer Benevolence Fund
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