What is Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a malignant solid tumor arising from the sympathetic nervous system. It is mostly seen in early childhood and constitutes up to 7% of cancers seen in children and young people and is the most common tumor after central nervous system tumors. In addition, 70% of neuroblastoma cases are seen in the abdomen, 20% in the chest and neck region. It is rarely seen in the bone marrow and bone.
According to another data, the neuroblastoma tumor stays in the formation area in half of the patients and may spread to the surrounding lymph nodes in the other half.
The disease is mostly seen (90%) in patients under 6 years of age. It is likely to occur in one of 100,000 children under the age of 15.
What are The Symptoms of Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma disease has no specific symptoms. Usually, the diagnosis is made by chance in routine examination or in ultrasound and x-ray images made for other reasons. The symptoms listed below vary according to the size of the tumor.
- Weakness, pale complexion
- Reluctant mood
- Glands and swellings in the abdomen and neck regions
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Stomach ache
- Bone pain
- Appetite problems, nausea, weight loss
What Causes Neuroblastoma?
There is no definite determination about the causes of neuroblastoma disease. What is known for certain about the disease is this: It occurs as a result of changes in the primitive cells in the sympathetic nervous system.
In addition, it is thought that the disease begins with the faulty development of embryonal nerve cells before birth. Faulty development of embryonic nerve cells is associated with chromosome changes and gene regulation.
Although genetic and epigenetic changes are effective in the development of the tumor, the disease itself is not hereditary.
External factors thought to cause the disease are:
- Smoking during pregnancy,
- Stressful life of parents
- Alcohol use
- Air pollution