Neuroblastoma occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the specialised nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system called neural crest cells. These cells are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues.
Neuroblastoma most commonly occurs in one of the adrenal glands situated in the tummy or in the chest, neck, abdomen, pelvis or the nerve tissue that runs alongside the spinal cord. The adrenal glands are specialised glands that release hormones that help the body respond to stress and maintain blood pressure.
Neuroblastoma may be present at birth, but generally presents in early childhood, before the age of 5 years. In most cases, by the time it is diagnosed the cancer has usually already spread to areas outside of the original site, often to the lymph nodes, bones, bone marrow, liver, and skin.
Approximately 25% of newly diagnosed neuroblastomas are in children under the age of…
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