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Neuroblastoma

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that causes developing nerve cells to become tumors. The tumors usually develop in glands near the kidneys called adrenal glands. Tumors may develop along your child's spine, or in his abdomen, chest, neck, or pelvis. A tumor may start in one place and metastasize (spread) to another. Neuroblastoma usually affects children younger than 5 years but can affect children up to 10 years old. The cause is not known. Your child may have an increased risk if other members of his family had neuroblastoma.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for your child's medicine.
  • Immunotherapy is medicine given to help your child's immune system fight the cancer.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests may be used to check your child's bone marrow or how well his kidneys are working. Blood tests may show signs of material the tumor has produced.
  • An x-ray, ultrasound, PET, CT, or MRI scan may be used to see if the tumor has spread, or to check its size. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the tumor show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his body.

Treatment:

  • Surgery is used to remove the tumor. Your child may need more than one surgery to remove the tumor. He may also need more surgery if the tumor has spread to another part of his body.
  • Chemotherapy or radiation is used to kill the cancer cells. Radiation may be used to make the tumor smaller so it can be removed later.
  • MIBG scintiscan is used to inject a type of radioactive material into your child's blood. The material will attach to any neuroblastoma cells. MIBG is used to treat the tumor and to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of your child's body.
  • A bone marrow transplant may be needed if the cancer spread to your child's bone marrow. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information on bone marrow transplants.

RISKS:

Neuroblastoma may spread to other parts of your child's body, such as his liver or bones. He may need surgery or other treatments if the cancer spreads. He may have nerve damage if a tumor presses on nerves.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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