Neuroblastoma Awareness Month & Ribbon
Month May 
Ribbon Gold Color


Neuroblastoma is a condition that develops in the immature nerve cells of the body. It commonly develops in the adrenal glands located above the kidneys, but can occur in other parts as well. So, wherever a group of nerve cells congregate, neuroblastoma is likely to develop there. It occurs in young children below age of 5 as they have immature nerve cells.

Signs and Symptoms

If the neuroblastoma affects the abdomen then the symptoms include pain, tenderness below the skin, frequent diarrhea and swollen legs. Neuroblastoma in the chest region can cause wheeze, pain, drooping eyelids and irregular pupil size. Other common symptoms include protruding eye balls, fever, back pain and bone ache.


  • Surgery could involve removal of the tumor which can cost up to $20,000 depending on where and who is performing the surgery.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation are used to reduce the spread and treat the inaccessible areas of the tumor. Based on the risk of neuroblastoma, the child undergoes a therapy that could include a combination of treatment methods. This comes up to $60,000 for a 2 month course.
  • Immunotherapy is another method where cancerous cells are destroyed by stimulating the body’s own immune system. This can cost more than $30,000 for an 8 week session.
  • Recent research has lead to stem cell transplant as a method of treating children with neuroblastoma. However, a single session can cost as much as $10,000 excluding the post therapy and consultation costs.


Beginning at the neuroblast stage, neuroblastoma affects the nerve cells by alerting their genetic makeup. Neuroblasts start forming right at the fetus level. While most mature by the time of birth of the child, some immature ones are found in the newborns. These are the ones vulnerable to change and cause of neuroblastoma.

Preventive Measures

Physical examination is the first step to diagnose neuroblastoma. It could also include a detailed psychological assessment of the child. Urine tests, blood tests, imaging tests, biopsy and staging are a part of the diagnosis like in other types of cancer.

Side Effects

  • Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation may include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair fall and fatigue.
  • Stem cell therapy carries a higher rate of failure as compared to other therapies and the same risks of other surgical methods such as infection.
  • Immunotherapy has some side effects such as increased counts of immune cells and anemia, both of which return to normal over time.