Cancer in children: neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system.

Neuroblastoma is a malignant tumor, the nerve cells, that the sympathetic nervous system called. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, or digestion. Such a tumor is usually in the adrenal glands and in an area adjacent to the spinal cord nerve tissue (ganglion). Two-thirds of all cases of neuroblastoma are found in children under 4 years of age. Mostly, it is a solid or “fixed”, not in the body-tumor of infancy distributed outside of the brain and spinal cord.

The symptoms depend on the location of the tumor, and are very different.

Affected children suffer from both under the directly attributable symptoms the tumor, as also the so-called general symptoms include. Directly on the tumor-related complaint, a palpable nodules (in the belly, when the tumor in the adrenal gland or is in addition to the abdominal section of the spine), difficulty breathing, cough, and thick neck lymph nodes contains (if the tumor along with the chest part of the spine), or evidence of a spinal cord of an outgrowth of the tumor in the direction of spinal cord injury. General symptoms may occur as paleness, weight loss, fever and diarrhea. Very early in the course of the disease will shift the daughter tumours (metastases), including in bone, liver and lymph nodes.

A comprehensive diagnosis is required.

The suspicion of the existence of a neuroblastoma arises from the typical symptoms and findings on physical examination. The diagnosis is confirmed by further investigation: blood and urine test, histological evaluation of a tissue sample, X-ray of thorax, ultrasound of abdomen, scintigraphy and magnetic resonance imaging. Treatment depends on the stage of the disease. There are different chemotherapy regimens, surgery and the possibility, a bone marrow transplant in consideration.
Stages of neuroblastoma after surgery:

Neuroblastoma is divided into 6 stages that relate to the condition after surgery:

  • Level I 🙂 In a place limited tumor has been completely removed for evaluation with the naked eye (with or without the presence of remnants of the tumor in the histological study, no presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes.)
  • Stage IIA: In a limited tumor that could not be fully removed from freezing to evaluate. No presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIB: In a limited tumor could be removed according to the naked eye not fully or completely. Presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes, no presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes of the other side of the body.
  • Remove any phase III: tumor over the centerline lymph nodes grow beyond adjacent infected or not infected – or limited tumor with the presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes of the other side of the body – or lying in the midline tumor on both sides in one place and cannot be removed or with the presence of tumor cells in the lymph nodes
  • Stage IV: Cancer and the presence of metastases in lymph nodes, bone, bone marrow, liver and other organs.
  • Stage IVS: in one place limited tumor of the infant with the presence of metastases in skin, liver and / or bone marrow.

Neuroblastoma is completely curable in phase I.

The long-term cure is dependent on tumor stage and takes around 100% in stage I went to about 30 percent at stage IV (stage IVS: around 70 per cent).