Monday, August 15, 2011

Facts about Neuroblastoma

Facts about Neuroblastoma
􀁸 There are approximately 12,500 children suffering from some form of pediatric cancer.
􀁸 Neuroblastoma is an extremely rare childhood cancer, affecting 10 children in every million, usually
before the age of 5.
􀁸 In the U.S., approximately 650 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year.
􀁸 Originating from neural crest cells called neuroblasts in the sympathetic nervous system where nervous
system tissue is present, neuroblastoma is a solid tumor cancer most commonly found near the adrenal
glands (located on top of the kidneys and in the chest).
􀁸 The term neuro indicates "nerves," while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or
developing cells.
􀁸 The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown. Studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors
are not involved.
􀁸 40 percent of neuroblastoma patients are younger than 1 year when diagnosed, 35 percent are aged 1-2
years, and 25 percent are older than 2 years when diagnosed.
􀁸 In 70-80 percent of patients with neuroblastoma, the disease is not diagnosed until it has already
metastasized (spread) to lymph nodes, liver, bone, bone marrow and/or skin. These cases are
categorized as stage IV and have a less than 40 percent chance of surviving long-term, classified as
more than three years. Less than half of these patients survive. i
􀁸 No drugs or treatments are available today designed to specifically treat neuroblastoma.
Treatment often requires a combination of surgery, chemotherapy drugs designed for different types of
adult cancers, bone marrow transplants and radiation therapy.
􀁸 The five-year survival rate for high-risk cases of neuroblastoma is less than 40 percent. ii
􀁸 There is a zero percent chance of survival for patients who relapse.
􀁸 Males have a slightly higher incidence of neuroblastoma than females. More than 40 percent of fully
insured families with a child with neuroblastoma declare bankruptcy due to the high costs of treatment,
often considered to be experimental.

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