About Neuroblastoma Treatment
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What is neuroblastoma?
This is a rare type of cancer that develops when a tumor is formed by special nerve cells called neuroblasts. In normal situations, neuroblasts grow from immature cells to mature and functioning cells. However in neuroblastoma, they become cancer cells.When and How does neuroblastoma form?
Neuroblastoma sometimes forms even before a child is born. However, it is usually not found until later when the tumor grows and starts to affect the body. Recovery is good when it is diagnosed in infancy. This type of cancer usually starts in the adrenal glands tissues. Adrenal glands are triangular in shape and are responsible for producing hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important functions. Neuroblastoma can also spread to other body parts such as skin, liver, bones and lymph nodes. Neuroblastoma is most common in infants and young children below the age of five years.Signs and Symptoms
Depending on where cancer first started and how much it has spread to other parts of the body, the signs can vary widely. The symptoms are also similar to those of other childhood illnesses, and as such can be difficult to diagnose. They include:
- Loss of appetite
If the tumor is in the stomach, a child may have a lump in the abdomen, a swollen stomach, and abdominal pain.
If cancer has spread to the bones, a child may have bone pain, pale skin, black eyes and bruises.
If the cancer is pressing on the spinal cord the child may be weak and unable to move a body part or have difficulty walking.
If the tumor is in the neck a child may have a drooping eyelid, unequal pupils, red skin, and sweating.
If the tumor is in the chest, a child may have difficulty breathingDiagnosis
Because the symptoms are similar to other illnesses, your doctor will order for some tests to confirm the diagnosis of neuroblastoma and rule out other illnesses. These are some of the tests that may be ordered: urine tests, blood tests, a biopsy (a tissue sample is removed and examined under a microscope) and imaging tests such as bone scan, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, and X-rays. The tests help the doctor determine where the tumor is located, how big it is and whether it has spread to other body parts.Treatment
Although some neuroblastoma cases disappear on their own without treatment, most cases need treatment. Treatments for neuroblastoma include:
- Surgery: This is usually the preferred treatment when the tumor has not spread to other parts of the body.
- Chemotherapy: If by the time the cancer is diagnosed it has spread to other parts of the body chemotherapy is usually combined with surgery.
- Radiotherapy: This may be combined with chemotherapy and surgery to treat the neuroblastoma if it is advanced.
Other treatments include Stem cell transplantation, retinoid therapy, tumor vaccines and immune therapy.
Risks : Loss of function in affected organs
Delays in growth and development
Delays in muscle and movement development
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