A rare kind of cancerous tumor that is generally seen in infants, neuroblastoma has a very rare occurrence in individuals more than 10 years old.
According to a pediatric oncologist based at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, Dr. Alison Friedmann, apart from brain tumors, neuroblastoma is the most common kind of solid cancerous tumor seen in children.
As states by the American Cancer Society, nearly 800 new cases of neuroblastoma surface every year in the U.S. This makes up nearly 6% of all cancers occurring in children. Neuroblastoma is also the most common tumor found in infants.
The American Childhood Cancer Organization stated how initially, the cancer starts of in the initial staged of nerve cells known as neuroblasts. With the growth of the fetus, most of the neuroblasts grow into mature nerve cells, either before or a couple of months after the child is born. However, when it comes to neuroblastoma, the neuroblasts do not develop in a correct manner. They continue to divide and develop, instead of establishing into mature nerve cells. The abnormal neuroblasts tend to die out, sometimes, during infancy. But sometimes they accumulate and grow into tumors.
Dr. Alison Friedmann stated how some evidence has suggested how neuroblastoma might just be a normal phase in the fetus’ growth, however, mostly, the tumor degenerates itself without requiring it to be treated. She stated how scientists have not yet figured out why early nerve cells can develop into cancer in some children but not others. According to some exerts, this is because of a genetic mutation inside nerve cells, as mentioned by the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Alison Friedmann explained how neuroblastoma can form nearly anywhere inside a body. The most common sites of formation are the tissues of the adrenal glands. These are situated at the top of the kidneys.