Tag Archives: Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from nerve cells found in several areas of the body. Neuroblastoma most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, which have similar origins to nerve cells and sit atop the kidneys. However, neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and in the chest, neck and pelvis, where groups of nerve cells exist. Neuroblastoma most commonly affects children age 5 or younger, though it may rarely occur in older children and adults. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in babies and often has a very good prognosis in children younger than 1.
Neuroblastoma begins in neuroblasts — immature nerve cells that a fetus makes as part of its development process. As the fetus matures, neuroblasts eventually turn into nerve cells and fibers and the cells that make up the adrenal glands. The majority of neuroblasts mature by birth, though studies have found a small number of immature neuroblasts in newborns. In most cases, these neuroblasts will mature or disappear. Others, however, form a tumor — a neuroblastoma. However, because neuroblastoma usually affects very young children, researchers believe the mutation occurs during pregnancy, or possibly even before conception.
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