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Neuroblastoma

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Definition

Neuroblastoma is a cancer most common in children under 5 or younger which triggers from groups of immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body, especially the adrenal glands, the abdomen, the chest, the neck, and near the spine.

Some forms of neuroblastoma go away on their own, while others may require multiple treatments.

 

Symptoms

Different body parts with neuroblastoma display different symptoms.

Neuroblastoma in the abdomen which is the most common , creates symptoms like abdominal pain, body mass under the skin which is not supple and tender on touch, diarrhoea and constipation besides change in bowel habits.

Neuroblastoma in the chest manifests symptoms like wheezing, chest pain, drooping eyelids and unequal pupil size besides changes to the eyes.

Other symptoms include lumps of tissue under the skin, proptosis which is protruding eyelids out of their sockets,dark circles around the eyes similar to bruises, pain in the bones and the back, unexplained weight loss and fever.

Risk Factors

No cause has been identified, though family history accounts for familial neuroblastoma cases.

Diagnosis

The doctor will run a few tests and procedures-

  • A physical examination to check for signs and symptoms
  • Urine and blood examination to check for abnormal levels of chemicals resulting from excess production of catecholamines
  • Imaging tests like X-ray, ultrasound, ComputerisedTomography (CT) scan, Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scan and MRI to reveal any suspicious mass and tumors
  • Biopsy
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Treatment

Treatment depends on several factors - age, stage of cancer, type of cancer cells involved, and anomalies in chromosomes and genes. The common methods of treatment are-

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Immunotherapy
  • Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) therapy
 
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