Have you ever heard about this disease ‘neuroblastoma cancer’? A majority of the people must haven’t as it is not as prevalent as other cancers(lung, breast, skin, mouth, etc.) This cancer is commonly caused in newborns where a solid tumor of nerve cells is developed in their body. These nerve cells are named neuroblasts. In a healthy body, these immature nerve cells become functioning cells whereas, during Neuroblastoma cancer, these develop into cancer cells instead of functioning cells. It is very important to get your infant checked for this rare cancer for timely treatment.
Even though this cancer develops before or at the time of the baby’s birth, it is difficult to diagnose it then. This cancer is very tricky to be found until it starts growing and affecting the body of the patient. The earlier diagnosis, the higher the chances of cancer removal and survival. With age, the situation complicates. There are two types of neuroblastoma cancer:
- Familial type: inherited by a family member, majorly parents.
- Sporadic type: not inherited
98% of cases of this deadly disease are sporadic type and only 2% get it from their parents or family. Also, maximum cases are of boys.
Neuroblastoma cancer in kids generally develops in the adrenal gland tissues located above kidneys. This gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate several important functions like BP and heart rate. Similar to other cancers, neuroblastoma cancer can also metastasize to the rest of the body affecting bones, skin, liver and lymph nodes.
The main cause of the growth of this cancer is the uncontrolled division of neuroblasts. When these do not convert into nerve cells but divide, cancer develops. Scientists speculate gene defect to be the reason behind this occurring.
Symptoms of neuroblastoma cancer in kids
The signs and symptoms differ according to the location of neuroblasts its growth and how much it has metastatized. The initial signs are:
- Loss of appetite
These signs are very common and therefore it becomes extremely difficult to identify neuroblastoma cancer in its initial stage. The symptoms depend on which body part is this cancer growing. Apart from the common symptoms stated above these are other signs of this cancer:
- Unusual lump on a body part
- Swollen stomach
- Acute abdominal pain
- Numbness and difficulty moving that body part
- Sores or pain in bones
- Horner's syndrome
- Drooping eyelids and dissimilar pupils
- Breathing issues
How is Neuroblastoma Cancer Diagnosed?
Whenever you see any unusual sign on the kid's body, take him to the doctor. The doctor would conduct some tests to diagnose the disease and find the location and size of cancer if results come positive.
Is Neuroblastoma Cancer Treatable?
Yes. The treatment of this cancer depends on the risk of cancer and its severity. This cancer can be easily cured in children with low risk as it becomes easy to control the neuroblasts from spreading. But sadly, most of the kids have high-risk neuroblastoma cancer which is very difficult to be treated.
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