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Neuroblastoma: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Neuroblastoma: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Neuroblastoma: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment - Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that develops from the neuroblast or nerve cells that are immature in children. In the case of neuroblastoma, neuroblast that should grow and function as nerve cells thus forming lumps in the form of solid tumors. Neuroblastoma has a high risk of death. Therefore you must know information about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Neuroblastoma is more likely to occur on one of the above adrenal glands, kidneys, or nervous tissue in the spine that runs from the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. This rare cancer can spread quickly to other organs, such as the bone marrow, lymph nodes, bones, liver, and skin. Most cases of neuroblastoma occur in children aged 5 years and under.

Neuroblastoma Symptoms

Neuroblastoma symptoms can be varied, depending on the body parts are esophageal. Early symptoms can appear cryptic and hard to find. Neuroblastoma that strikes the abdominal area is characterized by abdominal pain, constipation, abdominal skin that feels hard when touched, belly became swollen reduced appetite and weight loss.

If this condition arising in the chest, can cause symptoms in the form of chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing, accompanied by changes in the eyes (the size of the pupil to be different and eyelid down).

Whereas in neuroblastoma attacks the spinal cord, then the lower part of the body can be a weakness, numbness, or disrupted the movement.

The development of neuroblastoma may be classified into four stages, namely:
  • Stage 1 neuroblastoma − Cancer is in one place, has not spread, and can be removed by surgery.
  • Stage 2 neuroblastoma −  cancer has not spread and remained in one place, but is not easily removed by surgery.
  • Stage 3 neuroblastoma − Tumor could not be removed through surgery because of their large size.
  • Stage 4 neuroblastoma − Cancer has already spread to other organs.

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Causes Of Neuroblastoma

Nerve cells and fibers, as well as the human adrenal gland cells,  were grown from neuroblast or immature nerve cells. This change occurs when the fetus is developing in the womb. After the man was born, no longer remaining neuroblast. If still there, matured or will gradually disappear. In the case of neuroblastoma, the rest of these existing neuroblast instead of being cooked or disappear, but rather continues to grow and form a tumor.

Just like other types of cancer, until now, experts have not been able to ascertain the causes that lead to embryo nerve cells is not matured and developed into neuroblastoma. However, scientists suspect a malfunction in the neuroblast gene, which makes it divides itself uncontrollably and becomes tumors.
Diagnosis Of Neuroblastoma

The doctor will suspect a patient is suffering from neuroblastoma based on symptoms and other complementary examinations, such as blood tests or urine. Neuroblastoma survivors have levels of Catecholamines substances very high in him. Through blood tests or urine, excess Catecholamines can be known.

To ensure the diagnosis, the doctor will run follow-up inspection, such as ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. These procedures aim to see the condition of a tumor in the part of the body in more detail. As for seeing the spread of cancer cells, doctors can perform scanning of MIBG (meta-iodobenzyl-guanidine). The radioactive material is injected into the blood that binds to neuroblastoma cells. With this test, the doctor can make sure the spread of cancer is already happening or not.

Besides, the doctor may also perform a biopsy, i.e., the taking and testing samples of cancer cells in the laboratory. One of them was a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration, which is done in neuroblastoma suspected already spread to the bone marrow.

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Treatment Of Neuroblastoma

The doctor will treat neuroblastoma based on the level of its spread. The recommended methods of handling are the surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy (the destruction of cancer cells using drugs) and radiotherapy (the destruction of cancer cells using x-ray radiation).


Operation applied to overcome neuroblastoma that has not spread. However, if the tumor grows near a vital organ, for example around the spinal cord or the lungs, then this procedure can be dangerous to do. The operation only aimed to lift the tumor as much as possible, and further handling in the form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy will be done to eliminate the remaining cancer cells.


If the operation is not allowed as the first choice to treat neuroblastoma, for example, because the size is big enough or has spread, then the doctor may advise patients undergoing chemotherapy. A procedure that uses chemicals aims to stop the growth of cancer cells and shrink it. After shrinking the size of the tumor, surgery can be done to lift it.


The purpose of this same method of cancer treatment with chemotherapy, namely to destroy cancer cells. However, the difference is radiotherapy uses high-energy rays. In people with advanced neuroblastoma, radiation therapy can be an alternative if the operation combined with chemotherapy has not been able to eliminate cancer cells.

Other methods of handling neuroblastoma are to stem cell transplants (stem cell). This procedure can be done after neuroblastoma survivors undergo chemotherapy with a high dose to kill cancer cells. After the death of cancer cells, the stem cells will be injected into the body of the sufferer to form healthy new cells.

Other methods can also be used as an alternative is immunotherapy. In this method, the monoclonal antibodies will be injected into the body, in order to encourage neuroblastoma survivors immune system to attack the cancer cells.

Tag :
Neuroblastoma Symptoms
Causes Of Neuroblastoma
Treatment Of Neuroblastoma
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