Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that typically affects children, often under the age of 5. This cancer starts in the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys but can spread to other areas like the chest, abdomen, spine, pelvis, or lymph nodes. It develops from immature nerve cells called neuroblasts, hence its name.

The symptoms can vary greatly depending on the location and size of the tumor. They may include, fatigue, loss of appetite, bone pain, a lump in the abdomen, chest, neck, or pelvis, bruising, or unexplained weight loss. The prognosis and treatment options vary too, depending on the risk group which is determined by factors like the child’s age, the stage of the tumor, and its genetic makeup.


It’s important to remember that although neuroblastoma is one of the more common cancers in infants, childhood cancer as a whole is rare.

Causes of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that occurs most often in infants and young children, usually in those under age five. It originates from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body. The exact cause of neuroblastoma is not completely understood, yet it is thought to involve a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Here are some of the possible causes and risk factors:

1. Genetic Mutation: Some cases are thought to occur due to a mutation in the child’s DNA. It may occur spontaneously or may be inherited.

2. Family history: A small number of neuroblastomas are hereditary, which means a genetic mutation is passed down from parents to children.

3. Other genetic conditions: Certain conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or Hirschsprung disease are associated with a higher risk of neuroblastoma.

4. Age: Neuroblastoma most commonly affects children under the age of 5, with the majority of cases diagnosed in the first year of life.

It is important to remember that having these risk factors does not guarantee a child will develop neuroblastoma. Many children with these risk factors never develop this cancer, while others who get this disease might have few or none of them. It is also worth noting that like most cancers, neuroblastoma is not caused by anything the parents have done or not done.

Risk Factors of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells, most often found in the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys, although it can also develop along the spine, chest, abdomen, or pelvis. While it is not clear exactly what causes neuroblastoma, certain aspects can significantly contribute to the risk of developing this disease:

1. Age: Neuroblastoma is most often found in young children. About 90% of cases are diagnosed in children younger than 5 years old.

2. Family history and genetics: About 1-2% of neuroblastoma cases seem to run in families due to genetic mutation. If a parent carries this mutation, a child has a 50% chance of getting it. This is termed as familial neuroblastoma.

3. Genetic disorders: Certain inherited disorders may increase the risk of neuroblastoma. These include Costello syndrome, Noonan syndrome, and others.

4. Race: It seems to affect people of different races differently. For example, it is more common in non-Hispanic white people.

5. Gender: It is slightly more common in boys than in girls, though the reasons for this are not well understood.

6. Birth anomalies: Some studies suggest an association between congenital abnormalities and an increased risk of neuroblastoma.

Unlike many types of cancer, lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, and exercise seem to have little to no effect on the risk of developing neuroblastoma. The presence of one or more of these risk factors does not mean a child will definitely get neuroblastoma, but the risk may be higher.

Signs and Symptoms of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that primarily affects children aged five or less. Here are some common signs and symptoms:

1. Pain and Swelling: One might notice a lump or swelling in the abdomen of the child, resulting from the cancer mass. This could cause discomfort or a feeling of fullness.

2. Bone Pain: The child may complain of bone pain, particularly if the disease has spread into bones, which can cause unexplained limping.

3. Changes in Eyes: There might be changes in or around the eyes, such as black eyes, droopy eyelids, rapid eye movement, or changes in eye color.

4. Skin Changes: Blue or purple tiny spots on the skin (similar to freckles) can occur.

5. Fever and Weight Loss: Persistent fever for no known reason and unexplained weight loss might be experienced.

6. Changes in Bowel Habits and Urination: Painless swelling may lead to changes in bowel movements or urination, such as constipation or urinary incontinence.

7. Fatigue and Weakness: Unexplained tiredness, weakness, or loss of energy could a sign.

8. Paralysis or Weakness: If the cancer affects the spinal cord, it might lead to symptoms like weakness or paralysis.

Keep in mind these symptoms could be due to other health issues as well but it is always good to consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that primarily affects children, usually under the age of five. This disease often starts in the adrenal glands, which are small glands on top of the kidneys, but it can also develop in nerve tissue along the spine, chest, abdomen, or pelvis.

Neuroblastoma arises from neuroblasts, early nerve cells that are present in an embryo or fetus. If these cells grow abnormally, they can turn into a tumor, which is typically first discovered in the adrenal glands.

The signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma can vary greatly depending on the location of the tumor and whether the disease has spread. They may include a lump in the abdomen, chest, or neck, bone pain, black and blue marks around the eyes, drooping eyelids, or unresponsive pupils.

Treating neuroblastoma often involves a combination of therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant, or in some cases a combination of all. The choice of treatment largely depends on the specific circumstances of the individual patient, including the age at diagnosis, stage of disease, and the tumor’s biological characteristics. Survival rates for neuroblastoma vary widely, depending on these same factors.

Treatment of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in very early forms of nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. It is most commonly found in children aged five or under, though it can rarely occur in older children or adults. Its treatment depends on several factors such as the age of the child, the stage of the cancer, the location of the tumor, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

1. Surgery: This is usually the first step, where doctors remove as much of the tumor as possible without causing harm to the child. However, sometimes it’s challenging to entirely remove it if the tumor is near crucial body organs.

2. Chemotherapy: This is treatment with anti-cancer drugs that might be administered into a vein or given orally. It’s used when the tumor has spread to other parts of the body or if it’s too large to be entirely removed by surgery.

3. Radiation Therapy: This therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. It’s commonly used when the tumor is too large to be completely removed by surgery, or if it has spread to difficult-to-reach areas.

4. Stem Cell Transplant or Bone Marrow Transplant: High doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy followed by a stem cell transplant can allow doctors to use higher doses of chemotherapy. The high-dose treatment destroys the bone marrow, which is then replaced by the transplanted stem cells, helping the body rebuild the immune system.

5. Immunotherapy: This treatment helps the body’s immune system fight cancer. In neuroblastoma, specific antibodies are given to the child to target cancer cells and halt their growth.

6. Retinoid therapy: This therapy uses drugs that are related to vitamin A to slow or stop the growth of neuroblastoma cells. It’s often given after other treatments to try and prevent the cancer from coming back.

7. Clinical trials: Experimental therapies such as new combinations of treatments, new chemotherapy drugs, or novel therapies like targeted therapy or gene therapy, may also be an option.

Regular check-ups and consulting with a team of professionals including oncologists, surgeons, psychologists, therapists, etc. are also a part of the overall treatment and recovery journey. It is, however, vital to remember each case of neuroblastoma is unique, and thus treatment plans will vary between individuals.

Medications commonly used for Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer most commonly affecting children, particularly those less than five years of age. It usually starts in the adrenal glands but can also develop in the nerve tissue along the spine, chest, abdomen, or pelvis. Treatment for neuroblastoma can vary based on the stage and progression of the disease, and often a combination of therapies is used. Here are some of the most common medications used for neuroblastoma:

1. Chemotherapy: The primary medical treatment for neuroblastoma is chemotherapy, which uses drugs to destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing. Some common chemotherapy drugs used in treating neuroblastoma include cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, etoposide, carboplatin, cisplatin, topotecan, and vincristine.

2. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. Dinutuximab (Unituxin) is an immunotherapy drug commonly used in treating high-risk neuroblastoma. It’s generally given with GM-CSF and IL-2, along with a drug called isotretinoin.

3. Retinoid therapy: After chemotherapy and sometimes immunotherapy, patients typically receive a form of vitamin A known as retinoid. Isotretinoin (also called 13-cis-retinoic acid) is a retinoid drug that can kill neuroblastoma cells or slow their growth. It’s often given to reduce the risk of relapse.

4. Targeted therapies: More recently, targeted therapies have been developed to specifically target cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. These come in the form of oral medication and include drugs like crizotinib, more commonly used if the cancer cells have changes in the ALK gene.

5. Other drugs: Other drugs that may be used include pain medications and steroids to manage symptoms, as well as antinausea drugs to help manage the side effects of chemotherapy.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about any medications prescribed, including what they do, how they are taken and possible side effects. Each patient is individual, and treatment plans will be tailored to their unique needs.

Prevention of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that commonly affects children and often begins in the adrenal glands. Currently, there is no known way to prevent most neuroblastomas, as they are not linked to any environmental causes or lifestyle factors that might be preventable.

However, since family history and genetics can play a role in some cases, any preventive strategies would necesarily take into account children with familial or genetic predispositions.

1. Regular Screening: Children with a known genetic predisposition may require regular screening, including regular physical examinations, urine tests, or imaging tests.

2. Genetic Counseling: Families at high-risk might be advised for genetic counseling and testing. If a harmful mutation is found, closer screening could be suggested.

3. Balanced lifestyle: A healthy balanced diet and regular physical activity can boost children’s immune system and generally enhance their well-being.

4. Avoid exposure to harmful substances: Minimizing exposure to harmful toxins, pollutants or radiation can reduce risks of various types of cancers, which may also apply to neuroblastomas.

5. Prenatal Vitamins: Some research suggests that taking multivitamins or prenatal vitamins during pregnancy may reduce the risk of neuroblastoma in children. However, more research is required in this regard.


The main strategy currently used to catch neuroblastoma early is to be aware of the symptoms, which may include an abdominal mass, unexplained fever, rapid weight loss, pain, and more. If you come across any unusual changes in your child’s health, seek immediate medical attention.

It is important to note that this information should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations.

FAQ’s about Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that often occurs in infants and young children. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about it:

1. What is Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. It most commonly affects children aged five or less. Though rare, there are cases where it is present in older children, and very rarely, adults.

2. What causes Neuroblastoma?
The causes aren’t entirely clear, but in most cases, it’s believed to occur by chance. It’s not a common cancer and it’s not generally inherited. Scientists believe it’s caused by random mutations in the DNA of a growing fetus.

3. Where in the body does Neuroblastoma occur?
It usually starts in the adrenal glands, which are positioned on top of the kidneys. It can also start along the spine, chest, abdomen, or pelvis, anywhere along the chain of nerve tissue that runs from the neck to the pelvis.

4. What are the symptoms of Neuroblastoma?
Symptoms vary depending on the specific location of the tumor, but can include a lump or swelling in the abdomen, chest pain, weakness or paralysis, unexplained fever, bone pain, unexplained weight loss, or a change in the eyes such as drooping eyelids or different sized pupils.

5. How is Neuroblastoma diagnosed?
Diagnostic tests include physical examination, blood and urine tests, biopsy, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, X-rays, Ultrasound, CT scans, MRI, MIBG scan, and PET scans.

6. What are the treatment options for Neuroblastoma?
Treatment options can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, high-dose chemotherapy/radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, retinoid therapy, and immunotherapy. Doctors often use multiple types of treatment combined.

7. What’s the prognosis for children with Neuroblastoma?
Prognosis varies greatly depending on the age of the child, stage of the disease, biological factors, and response to treatment. In infants, Neuroblastoma can sometimes go away without treatment. However, in older children, it can be more aggressive and difficult to cure.

8. Can Neuroblastoma recur?
Yes, Neuroblastoma can recur. This can happen during treatment, shortly after treatment, or even years later. Recurrence often means the cancer is harder to treat, and prognosis in these cases can unfortunately be poor.

9. Are there support groups for families affected by Neuroblastoma?
Yes, there are many resources and groups available to provide emotional, financial, and medical help and support to families dealing with Neuroblastoma. Your healthcare provider can provide a list of these resources.

Remember, all of these answers can vary depending on the individual case, and you should always consult with a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Useful links

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that attacks the sympathetic nervous system, often in the adrenal glands. It’s predominately found in children under the age of five, although it can occur in older children and adults. As an AI, I can’t browse the web in real-time, but I can provide you with the names of reputable journals where you may want to search for articles on this topic.


Please note, it is important to make sure that you have access to these paid journals. You can usually access them through university libraries or by purchasing individual articles.

To find articles, enter “Neuroblastoma: Children” into the search bar on these sites. Ensure to also make sure that the articles you’re viewing are peer-reviewed, as this typically indicates that they have been examined and approved by other experts in the field.

Complications of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that often begins in the adrenal glands. It commonly affects children aged five or under, occasionally even starting before birth. Diagnosing and treating neuroblastoma early can be challenging because of its intricate nature.

Complications of neuroblastoma can arise from the disease itself or from its treatments, and may include:

1. Tumor spread (Metastasis): Neuroblastoma often has already spread to areas beyond the original site at the time of diagnosis, such as lymph nodes, bones, bone marrow, liver, and skin.

2. Compression of structures: Depending on the location of the tumor, it may press against vital organs and blood vessels, potentially causing organ failure and other conditions.

3. Paraneoplastic syndromes: These are rare, abnormal disorders caused by a cancerous tumor, but are not due to the physical presence of cancer. In neuroblastoma, there can be symptoms like uncontrolled eye movement or difficulty walking.

4. Secondary Cancers: Treatments for neuroblastoma can give rise to secondary cancers later in life due to their intensity and toxicity, such as leukemia or thyroid cancer.

5. Long-term side effects from treatment: These can involve growth and development issues, hearing loss, heart problems, and learning difficulties. Some treatments can also affect fertility in later life.

6. Psychological effects: The diagnosis, hospital stays, medical tests, and treatment can be very psychologically distressing both for the child and their family.

7. Opsoclonus-Myoclonus-Ataxia Syndrome: This is a rare neurological disorder associated with neuroblastoma that causes difficulty with muscle coordination and speech.

Early diagnosis, comprehensive treatment plan, and proper follow-ups can help manage these complications and improve the child’s quality of life. The child’s healthcare team can guide and provide necessary support throughout the journey.

Home remedies of Neuroblastoma: Children

Neuroblastoma is a severe childhood cancer that typically affects children aged five or under. It often begins in the adrenal glands, although it can also develop in nerve tissue along the spine, chest, abdomen, or pelvis. Once neuroblastoma has been diagnosed, it’s advised that you seek professional medical treatment as early as possible. This condition is complex and can spread to other parts of the body, making it highly dangerous if not appropriately and promptly addressed.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any home remedies proven to treat or cure neuroblastoma. Alternative therapies can be used in tandem with standard cancer treatments to help manage some side effects or symptoms but should never replace medical treatment altogether.

Here are some complementary measures that could help support overall health during neuroblastoma treatment:

1. Healthy Diet: Feed your child a balanced, nutrient-rich, and diverse diet. Include lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. The aim is to strengthen the immune system, promote healing, and fight off infections.

2. Regular Exercise: Engaging in age-appropriate, doctor-approved physical activities can improve both physical health and mental wellbeing.

3. Adequate Rest: Ensure your child gets plenty of sleep. It helps the body recover and can boost overall health and well-being.

4. Hydration: Keep your child well-hydrated by making sure they frequently drink water or other healthy fluids.

5. Emotional Support: Provide a supportive, loving environment for your child. Consider seeking professional mental health support if you see changes in your child’s mood or behavior, or if they’re struggling to cope with the realities of their diagnosis.

Always involve the healthcare team directly treating your child’s neuroblastoma in other health-related decisions. They can guide you on what’s safe and effective for your child.

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Last Update: January 10, 2024