Neuroblastoma is cancer that starts in young nerve cells called neuroblasts. In a healthy child, these cells become the nerves that control functions such as heartbeat and blood pressure, and the way your child's body reacts to stress. In neuroblastoma, the neuroblasts never mature. Instead, they divide and grow into tumors.Most often, these tumors start in the nerves of the adrenal glands. These glands sit on top of the kidneys and release hormones that control the sympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system controls heartbeat, blood pressure and reactions to stress. However, these tumors can begin in any part of the body. The chest, neck, pelvis and spinal cord are other common places for them.
Despite receiving pioneering treatment abroad that his parents had fundraised for, Jack Brown died in 2009. The charity has continued its work with families affected by neuroblastoma and by January 2013 had funded treatment for 21 children abroad. In 2011, the charity rebranded as the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance UK, which is abbreviated to NCCA UK. Histopathologically, neuroblastoma can range in type from the most aggressive form, neuroblastoma, composed entirely of immature neural precursor cells, to ganglioneuroma, composed entirely of mature neural tissue. The most important prognostic factor for patients with neuroblastoma is the extent of the tumor at the time of diagnosis.