Definition of Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma: A childhood form of cancer that arises in the adrenal gland or in tissue in the nervous system that is related to the adrenal gland. Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor outside the brain in infants and children. It is often present at birth but may not be detected until later in infancy or childhood. The most common symptoms are the result of pressure by the tumor or bone pain from metastases. Protruding eyes and dark circles around the eyes are common and are caused by cancer that has spread to the area behind the eye. Neuroblastomas may compress the spinal cord, causing paralysis. Up to 70 percent of all children with neuroblastoma have metastases by the time the disease is diagnosed. Treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant. It can be cured when diagnosed at an early stage. Screening infants for neuroblastoma is not warranted because it does not decrease the morbidity (illness) or mortality rate.


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