What is Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer of the sympathetic nervous system — a nerve network that carries messages from the brain throughout the body. Each year there are about 700 new cases in the United States. It is usually found in young children, and is the most common cancer among infants specifically. These solid tumors — which take the form of a lump or mass — may begin in nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, or, most commonly, in the adrenal gland. They may also spread to other areas of the body, including bone and bone marrow.

The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown, but most physicians believe that it is an accidental growth that occurs during normal development of the sympathetic nervous system.

Treatment for neuroblastoma differs depending on many factors, particularly the stage of the disease and the age of the patient. Neuroblastomas that have recurred, or come back, may require different types of medicine.

Source: Memorial Sloan-Kettering

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