It is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that originates from nerve tissue and occurs in infants and children. It is the most common tumor in young children .
The cause of the tumor is unknown. Neuroblastoma is most often diagnosed in children under the age of five. It affects 1 in 100,000 children and is more common in boys .
Neuroblastoma can occur in many areas of the body and develops from tissues that make up the sympathetic nervous system , which is the part of the nervous system that controls body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and glucose levels. certain hormones.
The most frequent location is in the abdomen, in the tissues of the adrenal gland.
The child presents a progressive poor general condition (weeks or months): paleness, tiredness and poor color. The abdomen may increase in size and the child may complain of bone pain.
In many cases , a palpable mass is observed by the pediatrician, which is the alarm sign to diagnose the tumor.
Symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumor and can be very non-specific: diarrhoea, abnormal movements, nose bleeds…
To diagnose it, imaging tests must be performed: CT, MRI and specific analytics. Depending on the location, other diagnostic tests may be required: bone scan , chest X-ray…
Treatment varies depending on where the tumor is located , the extent of its spread, and the age of the patient. In certain cases, surgery alone is sufficient, but other complementary treatments are often required: chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs) and radiotherapy.
The prognosis depends on the aggressiveness of the tumor and the age at which it is diagnosed. Each patient must be evaluated individually .
Response to treatment is variable, although it tends to be quite successful if treatment is started before tumor spread; otherwise, if it has spread to other areas, the neuroblastoma is much more difficult to cure.