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October 29, 2013

Childhood Cancer Name:



Neuroblastoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in neuroblasts (immature nerve tissue) in the adrenal glands, neck, chest, or spinal cord.

Neuroblastoma often begins in the nerve tissue of the adrenal glands. There are two adrenal glands, one on top of each kidney in the back of the upper abdomen. The adrenal glands make important hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and the way the body reacts to stress. Neuroblastoma may also begin in nerve tissue in the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis.


Neuroblastoma most often begins in infancy. It is usually diagnosed between the first month of life and age five years. It is found when the tumor begins to grow and cause signs or symptoms. Sometimes it forms before birth and is found during an ultrasound of the baby.

By the time cancer is diagnosed, it has usually metastasized (spread). Neuroblastoma spreads most often to the lymph nodes, bones, bone marrow, liver, and skin in infants and children. Adolescents may also have metastasis to the lungs and brain.

Neuroblastoma is sometimes caused by a gene mutation (change) passed from the parent to the child.

NeuroBlastoma is currently not a disease that is curable, rather manageable.

In babies under 1.5 years old, it is almost like a different disease as in older kids. The survival rate is significantly high and the treatment is very different.

Cancer Localization:

Nervous System, Other

Childhood Cancer Diagnostic method:

Biopsy analysis, Blood test

Childhood Cancer Treatment:

Chemotherapy, Complementary medicine (ex: Maitake), Radiation, Surgery

Parents Tips:

Parents who have been there would also tell you some things you should know:

  1. Babies before the age of 1.5 years old have a very good prognosys. Some parents would argue it is a totally different disease if treated before or after this age.
  2. Harvest as much bone marrow as possible at the begining of the treatment when you still can. You may need it later on, if/when the cancer will relapse.
  3. With NB you should always prepare for the next step as relapses occure without a warning and then there is no time to make plans. You always need to have a plan in place for a relapse situation.
  4. NB tends to relapse. However even when it doesn’t, you should always stay updated about available treatments as trials open all the time for children with and/or without signs of disease. Some parents will take advantage of the ‘quiet’ time after treatment to go for a preventive clinical trial.
  5. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC is offering an advanced experimental treatment with antibody agents (3F8 Monoclonal Antibody Therapy). Check with your local doctor if such treatment is also available at your local facility.
  6. Harvest as many stem cells as you can as early as you can since this process will slowly become impossible while the need may grow.
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