The diagnosis of any type of cancer in a child is difficult for all families. If your child has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a solid tumor cancer that forms in the nerve tissue, the healthcare team at Miami Cancer Institute will provide comprehensive, compassionate care and an individualized treatment plan.
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Most cervical cancers begin in an area called the transformation zone, where the inner part of the cervix closest to the uterus meets the outer part of cervix closest to the vagina.
Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor cancer in infants. It is often present at birth but not detected until the tumor begins to grow. Most children are diagnosed before the age of 5, and while it is rare to find neuroblastoma in an older child, it sometimes occurs in adults.
Neuroblastoma can begin in the nerve tissues of the chest, pelvis, neck or abdomen, but it is most commonly found in the tissues of the adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys and secrete hormones and chemicals that control the kidneys, heart, immune system and the growth of reproductive organs. Approximately 700 children in the U.S. are diagnosed each year with neuroblastoma.
Tumors can spread, or metastasize, quickly to other areas, including lymph nodes, bones, bone marrow, lungs and liver.
What causes neuroblastoma?
The cause of neuroblastoma is still being researched. In rare instances ― less than 2 percent of of the time ― there is a hereditary factor in the form of an altered gene passed down from a parent. This inherited neuroblastoma is often more aggressive than a neuroblastoma that occurs as an accident during the formation of the sympathetic nervous system. However, not everyone who inherits the gene will develop neuroblastoma.
What are the symptoms of neuroblastoma?
As with other cancers, symptoms vary from child to child. Your child may experience one or more of the following:
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Diarrhea or poor appetite
- Swelling and bruising of the area around the eyes and uncontrolled eye movements or bulging eyes caused by tumors in the face or head
- Changes in urination caused by compression of the kidney or bladder
- Pain, fatigue, limping, paralysis or weakness caused by bone marrow involvement
- High blood pressure and increased heart rate, depending on the location of the tumor