Neuroblastoma

What is neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is cancer that begins in the adrenal glands. There are two adrenal glands in the body, located one on top of each kidney. Adrenal glands produce important hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure and other important body functions. This cancer most often occurs in children under the age of five.
 
What causes neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is most often caused by a genetic mutation.

What are the symptoms of neuroblastoma?
• Swelling or a lump in the abdomen
• Swollen stomach
• Weakness and fatigue
• Diarrhea
• Problems with movement or coordination
• Bone pain

How is neuroblastoma diagnosed?
If physicians at KHCC suspect that a child has neuroblastoma, they will run a number of tests and diagnostic procedures to determine where exactly in the body the tumor is located, how fast-growing it is and how much it has spread:
• MIBG: An imaging test that uses radioactive iodine to scan the body to detect the spots of neuroblastoma
• Bone scan to detect bone metastasis
• CT scan to determine which body organs have been affected with neuroblastoma
• Urine test to detect levels of a protein called VMA which is useful to diagnose this disease
• Bone marrow biopsy to detect any bone marrow involvement

How is neuroblastoma treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the child depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.

Treatment may be with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or bone marrow transplant. Early stages of the disease where no metastasis (spread of cancer) is present or limited metastasis in those less than one year are treated with 4-8 cycles of chemotherapy. Advanced stages of neuroblastoma are treated with intensive chemotherapy in combination with an autologous bone marrow transplant usually followed by a vitamin A derivative given orally for 6 months.

Physicians
Pediatric patients receive top quality care from a multidisciplinary team of pediatric oncology specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating childhood tumors.

Supportive Care
The pediatric multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that pediatric cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: