Neuroblastoma Awareness and Risk Reduction

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Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in children age 1 or younger. There are no known ways to reduce the risk. However, it’s still important for parents to understand the symptoms. When it’s diagnosed early, there’s often a greater chance for successful treatment.

Neuroblastoma Causes and Risk Factors

Neuroblastoma occurs when neuroblasts grow uncontrollably, eventually forming a tumor. This is often triggered by a genetic mutation, though doctors aren’t sure why these mutations occur.

Neuroblastoma is most common in young children, and it’s very rare in people older than 10. In rare cases, genetics play a role, but in most children there is no known reason for development of neuroblastoma.

Symptoms of Neuroblastoma

Symptoms of neuroblastoma include:

  • Lump in the abdomen, chest, or neck
  • Bulging eyes or dark circles around the eyes
  • Bone pain
  • Digestive problems, such as a stomachache, decreased appetite, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Irritability
  • Leg weakness

As the cancer progresses, patients may experience symptoms such as high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and problems with balance and coordination.