Neuroblastoma

Audrina has high risk Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects children, generally under the age of 5 years old. Most doctors will never see a case of Neuroblastoma in the course of their career as less than 100 children are diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK.

Neuroblastoma develops in the sympathetic nervous system where nerves carry messages from the brain to the body.  The disease forms as solid tumours most commonly in the adrenal glands which are situated above both kidneys. Neuroblastoma can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, liver, bone marrow and bones. 

Symptoms will depend on where the Neuroblastoma has spread to and can include limping or difficulty walking, pain discomfort or swelling in the tummy, weight loss or poor appetite, aches, pains and fevers.  As these symptoms can differ in every child and mimic a variety of childhood illnesses, Neuroblastoma can be difficult to identify in the early stages.

Low or medium risk neuroblastoma can often be successfully treated and cured on the NHS.  Low risk neuroblastoma can even go away on its own without treatment.  A child with ‘high risk’ Neuroblastoma, such as Audrina, will receive the most aggressive treatment available. This will involve a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. Even after this treatment is completed, for children with high risk neuroblastoma there is still a high chance of relapse. There is currently no protocol available in the UK to deal with relapsed Neuroblastoma. Children must travel overseas to seek various medical trials not available under the NHS.

For more information about Neuroblastoma please see the following links:

Macmillan

NHS

Cancer Research UK

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