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types of cancer

Neuroblastoma

Overview

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer which forms in certain types of nerve tissue only. This condition usually starts from one of the adrenal glands, but may also develop in the chest, spine, abdomen or neck region. Neuroblastomas are most common in babies and the third most common in children, after leukaemia and brain cancer.

Symptoms

The symptoms of neuroblastoma vary, depending on the size of the tumor and the location or the extent to which it has spread to other organs of the body. Symptoms may include pain in the bone area, lump in the abdomen, neck, chest, or a painless lump under the skin.

Causes

Researchers have found major differences between neuroblastoma cells and the normal neuroblasts (early forms of nerve cells) from which they develop. Most of the cases are sporadic and do not occur because of heredity. About 1–2% of all cases run in the family and has been linked to specific gene mutations.

Diagnosis

Upon detection of a suspected tumor, following tests would be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Blood and urine catecholamine tests
  • Imaging test, using x-rays, magnetic fields, sound waves, or radioactive substances to create pictures of the insides of the body, such as Ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan and PET scan.
  • Biopsy
  • Treatment

    The patient suffering from Neuroblastoma may need to undergo one or more of the following procedures:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Immunotherapy
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