Neuroblastoma is a cancer that starts in the nerve cells from an early stage of the fetus. The word neuro refers to the nerve, whereas blastoma refers to the brain cells. This is the kind of cancer that occurs mostly in infants and young children. These kinds of cancer cells are mainly found into the nerve cells of adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord.
If you happen to travel for the treatment of Neuroblastoma, you would have to carefully plan out your travel expenses and the itinerary. You have to decide for the treatment center and hotels to stay for the treatment of Neuroblastoma. Be sure to take up the appointment in advance for the treatment of Neuroblastoma, so that you do not face any trouble.
If you already know where you will be going for the treatment of Neuroblastoma, or a consultation or a second opinion then click here to plan your travel. Otherwise, click here to get the information about facilities that specialize in Neuroblastoma.
If you cannot afford travel for medical treatment, please consult our directory of charitable organizations that can help arrange no-cost transportation for you.
For more information: (links to the section below)
- About Neuroblastoma
- Where to go for Neuroblastoma?
- Treatment of Neuroblastoma
- Risks associated with Neuroblastoma
- Who can go for the treatment?
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer formed in the sympathetic nervous system of a child. Sympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves that is responsible for carrying messages from the brain throughout the body. The disease forms small lumps or tumors in the nerve tissues of adrenal glands, abdomen, neck, chest, or pelvis.
Neuroblastoma develops in the nerve cells of the fetus known as neuroblasts. Normally, a fetus matures and after the birth, the neuroblasts continue to develop appropriately. Sometimes, these neuroblasts grow abnormally to form tumors resulting in Neuroblastoma.
This nerve cell cancer can be inherited and can be passed down from the child’s family. Neuroblastoma is generally found in the adrenal glands (a part above the kidneys). Neuroblastoma is the third most common cancer found in children after, Leukemia and cancer of the central nervous system.
Where to go for Neuroblastoma?
In USA there are various facilities that can offer treatment for Neuroblastoma, if you have already determined your child’s symptoms from early stages. As there are more precautions and management rather than the treatment, quite many hospitals cater to the treatment of Neuroblastoma.
The following health care facilities would help you largely deal with the diagnosis and treatment of the syndrome:
- Coming Soon
One should contact a doctor when the child’s symptoms match that of Neuroblastoma. Also, mention the child’s changing behavior or habits to the doctor. One should choose a health care facility where there are experts in bone marrow transplant, hematology, neurology, oncology, pediatricians and radiation oncology.
Even if you have to travel for the treatment, do not hesitate. Just make sure that the health care facility has all the departments related to your child’s treatment of Neuroblastoma. The hospital you choose should also be meeting the standards of National Cancer Institute for a better treatment of your child.
The diagnosis of Neuroblastoma can happen with the conditions as listed under the guidelines of International Neuroblastoma Risk Group task force:
- Neuroblastoma cells found in the bone marrow
- More than required higher level of the main chemicals produced by the nervous system known as catecholamine is found in urine test
- Tumor biopsy showing neuroblastoma cells
In addition to these diagnostic procedures, there are other tests too that can help in further evaluating Neuroblastoma. The tests can be different for varied people depending upon the severity of Neuroblastoma.
- Blood and Urine Tests
- Biopsy or surgically removing the tumor tissue to be examined
- Genetic Study
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
- CT Scan
- MIBG Scan
- PET-CT Scan
Treatment of Neuroblastoma
The treatment of Neuroblastoma is identical to as of any other cancer treatment. What kind of treatment has to be given would depend upon the age of the patient and how far the tumor has spread.
- Surgery: It is is used when the tumor has not spread to other parts of the body. The surgical removal of the tumor ensures that the patient is Neuroblastoma free. The surgery is done to remove as much tumor as possible. The surgery is an option only if the tumor hasn’t spread to the other parts of the body. But, in most of the cases, Neuroblastoma is diagnosed only when the tumor has spread. In some cases, even if the tumor has spread, a surgical biopsy is done to determine the type of tumor.
- Chemotherapy: Another most common kind of cancer treatment is chemotherapy. Powerful chemicals or drugs are injected in the bloodstream to kill the cancer cells. It can also stop the cancer cells from growing. Chemo is injected into the bloodstream so that they can travel to different parts of the body to find and kill cancer cells. Combination therapy can use more than one type of chemo at a time. Chemotherapy can be used as a primary therapy for Neuroblastoma.
- Radiation Therapy: In many cases, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill the cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy used, external and internal radiation. External radiation therapy is the one where machines outside the body transmit X-rays. Internal radiation therapy uses needles, seeds or wires to deliver the radiation directly to the cancer.
- Stem cell transplantation: It is a new technique introduced for replacing the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow that have been killed by the chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In this process, new cells are transported in the patient’s blood or bone marrow. The aim of the stem cell transplant is to destroy the cancer cells in the bone marrow, blood or other body parts and allow recreation of new healthy cells.
Risks associated with Neuroblastoma
High-risk patients of Neuroblastoma are given much higher intensity of treatments. If the Neuroblastoma tumor has spread to the following parts, then the patients are considered of being high-risk patients:
- Lymph nodes near the tumor
- Nearby areas other than the lymph nodes
- Lymph nodes of other body parts like bones, bone marrow, liver, skin or other such organs
Who can go for the treatment?
Neuroblastoma accounts for the 7 to 10 percent of the childhood cancers. Every year, 800 new cases are diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. This ailment is slightly more common in boys than girls. About 50 percent of the cancer cases in infants are of Neuroblastoma that makes it the most common tumor in infants younger than one year of age. Most of the children with this tumor are diagnosed by the age of five. So, treatment during infancy is the best time for the treatment, but if delayed, it can cause severe problems during adulthood.
Neuroblastoma presence is usually discovered when a lump or tumor uncovered. Rarely, this can happen through fetus ultrasound. The following are the other less common symptoms of Neuroblastoma. These can be the symptoms for other ailments too, so a doctor should be consulted if any of the symptoms occur.
- Lump in the abdomen, neck, or chest
- Bulging eyes or dark circles around the eyes
- Bone pains
- Swollen stomach
- Breathing problems
- Weakness or paralysis