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Neuroblastoma

A neuroblastoma is a malignant tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. Every year, approximately 25 children in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a neuroblastoma. Most of those children are not yet 6 years old. The tumor can already develop in the womb.

 

The brochure entitled Neuroblastoma contains comprehensive information about this disease. The most important information is provided below.

Causes

Neuroblastomas are probably caused by a developmental error in a (progenitor) cell of the sympathetic nervous system. Probably something is damaged in the chromosomes or in the DNA of this cell. Several errors are needed for a tumor to develop. Some of these errors are known, but it is still not clear just what causes neuroblastomas.

Symptoms

A neuroblastoma in the abdomen can cause abdominal pain, nausea and a swollen abdomen. A tumor in the chest cavity sometimes causes breathing problems and a tumor in the pelvis causes bladder and bowel dysfunction. A tumor in the nerves channel in the spinal column can cause paralysis symptoms. A neuroblastoma in the neck often causes swelling and sometimes a drooping eyelid. Some children suffer from high blood pressure, excessive sweating and diarrhea. Metastases can also cause symptoms.

How is neuroblastoma diagnosed?

A urine test determines the diagnosis.

Treatment

Children with a neuroblastoma are treated according to a protocol drawn up by national and international experts. Treatment depends on the age of your child, the type of tumor, its location, any metastases and any changes in the NMYC gene. If there are no metastases and the NMYC gene is not overly active, the removal of the tumor can be put on hold or it can be decided to remove the tumor immediately. But in most instances, chemotherapy is administered first, followed by surgery. If the tumor has spread or there are abnormalities in the NMYC gene, this is a high-risk neuroblastoma and requires intensive treatment in the form of chemotherapy, possibly combined with MIBG treatment, surgery and high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell return. This is followed by radiotherapy targeted at the area of the tumor. This is usually followed up with immunotherapy.

Chance of recovery

The chance of recovery for children with neuroblastoma depends on the spread of the tumor, any metastases, the age of the child and the genetic changes in the tumor cells. The chances of recovery therefore vary widely between 70-90% and 25-50%.

Don't be influenced too much by statistics, because the chance of recovery depends on many factors and each child and each situation is unique.

Questions?

Children with a neuroblastoma are treated in the solid tumors department.

Telefoon 088-9727272