Sunday, November 17, 2019

What is Neuroblastoma? Symptoms, Causes & Survival

What type of cancer is neuroblastoma? How does neuroblastoma start?
Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that develops from immature nerve cells in the fetus called neuroblasts. Neuroblastoma most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, situated above the kidneys. Neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and near the spine. Cancer cells form in nerve tissue of the adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord.

Neuroblastoma is the third most common childhood cancer after leukemias and cancer of the central nervous system. Neuroblastoma is an embryonal tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. Usually, as a fetus matures and after birth, the neuroblasts develop normally. But the abnormal growth of nerve cells leads to this disease.

(2) What does a neuroblastoma tumor look like?

What are the main signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma?

Signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma:

Signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma vary depending on where the cancer is and whether it's spread. The symptoms of neuroblastoma can be vague and tough to spot, and can be mistaken for those of more common childhood conditions. Signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma include:
  1. Fever
  2. Back pain
  3. Wheezing
  4. Abdominal pain
  5. Unexplained weight loss
  6. Fatigue, loss of energy, pale skin
  7. Difficulty in swallowing and peeing
  8. Chest pain and bruising in the skin
  9. Difficulty in breathing (if the cancer is in the chest)
  10. Proptosis (Eyeballs seem to protrude from the sockets)
  11. Bulging eyes, jerky eye and muscle movements
  12. Dark circles similar to bruises, around the eyes ("black eyes")
  13. Changes to the eyes, including drooping eyelid, unequal pupil size
  14. A limp and general irritability, bone pain or soreness
  15. Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
  16. Paralysis (inability to move a body part), numbness in the lower body
  17. Painless, bluish lump or mass in the skin that isn't tender when touched
  18. Lumps of tissue in the abdomen, neck, or chest, particularly around the eyes
  19. Swollen, pain in the abdomen, and decreased appetite (if the tumor is in the abdomen)
  20. Weakness in the legs, unsteady walk, difficulty walking (if the cancer presses on the spinal cord)
  21. If the tumor is in the neck then symptoms of sweating, and red skin occur which are the signs of nerve damage in the neck

Less common signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma include:
  1. Fever
  2. Feeling tired
  3. Easy bruising or bleeding
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Horner syndrome
  6. Shortness of breath
  7. Jerky muscle movements
  8. Severe watery diarrhea
  9. Uncontrolled eye movements
  10. Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding)
(3) Through how many ways the cancer spreads to the body?
There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body that are:
(1) Tissues:
The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
(2) Lymph system:
The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymphatic system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other distant parts of the human body.
(3) Blood:
The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.  It spreads from where it began by getting into the blood.

(4) Where does neuroblastoma develop?
Neuroblastoma can also develop anywhere along the sympathetic nervous system chain from the neck to the pelvis. Most commonly, neuroblastoma develops in the adrenal glands. This occurs in 40 percent of localized tumors and in 60 percent of cases of widespread disease.

(5) What are the causes of neuroblastoma?

Causes of Neuroblastoma:

It is not clear what causes the initial genetic mutation that leads to neuroblastoma. In most cases of neuroblastoma, a cause is never identified. Neuroblasts are immature nerve cells that a fetus makes as part of its development process. Neuroblasts turn into nerve cells and fibers and the cells that make up the adrenal glands. Most neuroblasts mature by birth. In most cases, these neuroblasts mature or disappear. Others, however, form a tumor known as neuroblastoma.

(6) Is neuroblastoma cancer curable? Can relapsed neuroblastoma be cured?
Some tumors can be cured easily while some are pose an aggressive behavior.
High-risk neuroblastoma patients are treated with intensive therapy.
It is very difficult to cure relapsed high-risk neuroblastoma. For some patients, it can be managed as a chronic disease.
Majority of tumors are very aggressive. So tumors are treated according to their aggressiveness.

(7) Can you die from neuroblastoma? How deadly is neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma Prognosis:

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nerves outside the brain. About 90% of cases occur in children under age 10. Majority of children with aggressive tumors can’t be cured and will die from their disease.

Neuroblastoma is a deadly type of cancer and it accounts for 12 percent of childhood cancer deaths. But like all childhood cancers, neuroblastoma is an extremely rare disease. There are just 700-800 cases annually in USA.

Neuroblastoma in infants

(8) What is the survival rate for neuroblastoma?

What is the life expectancy of a child with neuroblastoma?

How long can a child live with neuroblastoma?

The 5 Year survival rates of neuroblastoma:

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of children live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. Neuroblastoma is also one of the few types of cancer for which survival differs significantly between the two sexes. Boys have a worse outlook than girls.

In case of high-risk neuroblastoma, the-5-year survival rate is around 40% to 50%.
With intermediate-risk neuroblastoma, the 5-year survival rate is between 90% and 95%.
For children with low-risk neuroblastoma, the 5-year survival rate is higher than 95%.

Neuroblastoma has 5 years survival rates of only 67% which make it one of the lowest survival rates of all childhood cancers. A child's survival rate depends on many factors, particularly the risk grouping of the tumor.

(9) Does neuroblastoma run in families? Is neuroblastoma genetic?
Somatic mutations are present only in certain cells and are not inherited. When the mutation associated with neuroblastoma is inherited, the condition is called familial neuroblastoma.
It mainly affects children before the age of 5 years and rarely occurs in adults.
Neuroblastoma most often occurs in children who have no family history of the disease. Such type is known as sporadic neuroblastoma.
ALK and PHOX2B genes mutations give rise to the risk of developing sporadic and familial neuroblastoma.

(10) What age is neuroblastoma diagnosed?

What age does neuroblastoma occur?

In the USA, about 800 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year. The average age of a child diagnosed with neuroblastoma is about 1 to 2 years. It is found slightly more often in boys than in girls. This disease is rare in people over the age of 10 years. The disease is occasionally seen in teenagers or even young adults. Nearly 90% of cases are diagnosed by age 5. This cancer is detected by ultrasound even before birth.

(11) What is neuroblastoma in a child?

Why do children get neuroblastoma?

Can a baby be born with neuroblastoma?
The most common cancer in newborns is neuroblastoma. Usually, it is unusual for babies to be born with cancer.

Neuroblastoma most commonly occurs in one of the adrenal glands situated above the kidneys, or in the nerve tissue that runs alongside the spinal cord in the neck, chest, tummy or pelvis. Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children

Neuroblastoma happens when neuroblasts instead of developing into nerve cells, grow and divide unchecked. A defect in the genes of a neuroblast allows it to divide uncontrollably.

(12) Who is at risk for neuroblastoma?

Risks of neuroblastoma:

  1. Boys are more likely to develop the disease.
  2. Most causes of neuroblastoma are diagnosed in children between the ages of one and two.
  3. 1% to 2% of neuroblastoma cases seem to be the result of a gene inherited from a parent.
  4. 90% cases are diagnosed before the age of 5.
  5. Children with a family history of neuroblastoma may be more likely to develop the disease.

(13) What are the complications of neuroblastoma?

Complications of neuroblastoma:

  1. Neuroblastoma cells may secrete certain chemicals that irritate other normal tissues.
  2. Neuroblastoma may cause a rare syndrome that causes abdominal swelling and diarrhea.
  3. Neuroblastoma may cause paraneoplastic syndrome that leads to the rapid eye movements and difficulty with coordination.
  4. Neuroblastoma may metastasize to other parts of the body, including lymph nodes, bone marrow, skin, liver, and bones.
  5. Neuroblastoma tumors may grow and press on the spinal cord. This leads to the compression of spinal cord. Spinal cord compression may cause severe pain and paralysis.

(14) Can neuroblastoma go away on its own?
Some forms of neuroblastoma go away on their own, while others may require multiple treatments.

(15) What are the chances of neuroblastoma coming back?
Probability of recur decrease as more and more time passes after treatment is complete. In intermediate- or low-risk neuroblastoma, relapses occur in only 5-15% of cases. If it recurs, it comes back within the first two years after the end of treatment.

(16) What is recurrent Neuroblastoma?
Recurrent neuroblastoma is cancer that has recurred after the treatment. The cancer may come back in the same place of body or in other parts.

Despite the name, neuroblastoma is not a brain tumor. Neuroblastoma is a type of childhood cancer that develops in nerve tissues outside of the central nervous system. Neuroblastoma cells arise from the adrenal medulla or paraspinal sites where sympathetic nervous system tissues are located. It usually begins in the adrenal gland on top of the kidney.

(17) Does neuroblastoma show up on xray?

Can a blood test detect neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma cells are detected in the bone marrow. If neuroblastoma is suspected or has been found, your doctor will probably order several blood tests. Neuroblastoma cells make enough catecholamines chemicals that can be detected by blood or urine tests.

(18) Can neuroblastoma spread to the brain?

Is neuroblastoma a brain cancer?
The overall incidence of metastasis in the brain after treatment ranges from 1.7 to 11.7 percent.
It can be found anywhere along the spine. Relapsed neuroblastoma metastasizes to the CNS which may cause death.

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