Neuroblastoma is one of the most common malignant neoplasms that appear in children. It is detected in early childhood - from 1 to 3 years. Neuroblastoma is most often localized behind the peritoneum and in the posterior mediastinum (anatomical space in the middle chest cavity).
Types of neuroblastoma
The reasons for the development of neuroblastoma are not fully understood, heredity is considered the only reliable factor. Depending on the location and type of cells, 4 types of neuroblastoma are distinguished. Melulloblastoma develops deep in the cerebellum, is characterized by the rapid development of metastases, which leads to the death of the child. The first symptoms of this type of tumor include imbalance and coordination of movements.
Retinoblastoma affects the retina of a child's eyes, it leads to blindness and metastases to the brain. Neurofibrosarcoma is a tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. It develops in the abdominal cavity, metastasizes to the lymph nodes and bones. Sympathoblastoma is a malignant tumor that is localized in the adrenal glands and sympathetic nervous system, and can also appear in the chest cavity. It develops during the formation of the nervous system in the embryo. Due to the increase in the tumor of the adrenal glands, the spinal cord can be affected, this causes paralysis of the limbs.
Symptoms of the development of neuroblastoma
The first symptoms of neuroblastoma in children include: decreased appetite, pallor of the skin, vomiting, constipation, unreasonable whims. Perhaps an increase in heart rate, hair loss, the appearance of low-grade fever, increased sweating. As the tumor develops, the symptoms increase. With retroperitoneal neuroblastoma, the abdomen increases in circumference, and vascular networks in the chest and upper abdomen can be seen.
Neuroblastoma in the mediastinal region at the initial stage is asymptomatic. With the progression of the tumor, its germination into the spinal canal is observed, this causes urinary and stool incontinence, paralysis of the upper and lower extremities. Neuroblastoma metastasizes early, in case of damage to the bones of the skull, tumor tubercles appear on the scalp. With metastases in the liver, its tuberosity and increase are observed. The defeat of the bones is manifested by pathological fractures.
Diagnosis and treatment of neuroblastoma
To diagnose neuroblastoma, the child is examined by palpation, urine and blood tests are prescribed, ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, and computed tomography are performed. The final diagnosis is based on the results of biopsy and tissue histological examination.
Treatment of neuroblastoma is carried out in 3 main directions: with the help of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. As a rule, complex treatment is performed using several methods. The operation can help with the 1st and 2nd stages of neuroblastoma. Radiation therapy has a good effect. Poor prognosis of the disease has the 4th stage: the five-year survival rate does not exceed 20%.