What is Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops when immature nerve cells fail to develop into normal mature nerve cells. In this disease, the immature nerve cells (neuroblasts) multiply, leading to the growth of a cancerous mass of cells (a tumor) called neuroblastoma. These tumors can begin anywhere in the body, but are often found in the abdomen or belly and usually involve the adrenal gland, which sits on top of the kidney. Other common sites are the chest, neck, hips, bone, bone marrow, and pelvis.
Risk Classification of Neuroblastoma
After diagnosis, neuroblastoma is classified into risk groups based on certain factors that are known to affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and the risk of the cancer returning (relapse). Some of these factors include the age of the child at diagnosis, the stage of the tumor, and other characteristics of the tumor (tumor histology and tumor biology). Using these risk factors, a child is assigned a risk group—low, intermediate, or high-risk.