Neuroblastoma is a tumor of nerve tissue that develops in infants and children and can occur in many areas of the body. It most commonly begins in the abdomen in the tissues of the adrenal gland, but it may also occur in other areas. In the United States, about 800 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year. In children below the age of 18 months, there was an increased neuroblastoma risk among those with congenital malformations and suggestion of increased risk when the mother had pre-eclampsia. Symptoms of neuroblastoma will vary depending on the site of the primary tumor or the extent that it has spread (metastasized). The most common primary site is the abdomen. Other primary sites include the chest, neck and pelvis.
Neuroblastoma can spread to other areas of the body. If your child has a primary tumor in the abdomen, you may notice bellyaches, weight loss or a bigger abdomen. Some children only complain of general aches and pains. 123I-MIBG scan: A small amount of radioactive iodine (123I), linked to the very specific neuroblastoma chemical MIBG, is injected and an area of the body is viewed through pictures taken 24 hours later. Bone marrow is removed from the bone (usually the hip bone) either by aspiration (suctioning a small amount through a hollow needle) or by biopsy (cutting out a small piece of bone marrow). This test is generally done under anesthesia.