Neuroblastomas are tumors that form in the nervous system of young children, specifically in the areas outside of the brain and spinal cord. They often appear in the chest or abdomen, occurring most often in children 5 and younger, the genetic mutation occurring during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Multiple Treatments Often Required
Neuroblastoma treatment is dependent on various factors, with some requiring multiple treatments.
Commonly Arises in Adrenal Glands
Developed from immature nerve cells, neuroblastoma is commonly found in the cells of the kidneys.
The symptoms of neuroblastoma vary depending on the area that is affected. General symptoms include:
Lumps of tissue under skin
Eyeballs that appear to protrude from sockets
Unexplained weight loss
Dark circles around eyes
Symptoms specific to neuroblastoma in the chest include:
Unequal pupil size
Symptoms specific to neuroblastoma in the abdomen include:
Swelling in the legs
A mass under the skin
Differences in bowel movements (i.e. diarrhea)
If one or more of these symptoms occur, see your child’s pediatrician.
In order to diagnose neuroblastoma, a doctor may conduct a physical exam to check symptoms and complete a urine or blood test to check for abnormal levels of various chemicals that may be the result of neuroblastoma cells.
Imaging tests are also often used to check for tumors, including x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scans and ultrasounds. If a mass is found, a physician may remove a sample of tissue for examination and testing (biopsy).