At Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics, we’re proud of our pediatric services and our dedication to serving pediatric orthopedic oncology patients with quality and compassionate care. In this blog, we discuss a cancer that impacts pediatric patients virtually exclusively - particularly those under the age of five.

As always, the blog is not a substitute for a formal diagnosis and is meant purely for informational purposes. As with all other orthopedic tumors we treat, every individual’s case is unique and requies a diagnosis and treatment strategy unique to them.

What is Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is caused by the abnormal development of immature nerve cells known as neuroblasts. Instead of becoming mature nerve cells, they continue to grow and divide. In some cases they die off; and in other cases they develop into tumors or neuroblastoma. 

Who is most affected by Neuroblastoma?

Since Neuroblastoma begins with the abnormal development of fetal neuroblasts, it is most commonly found in children under the age of one. As children grow out of infancy, the likelihood of developing abnormal neuroblasts decreases. The average age of diagnosis for Neuroblastoma is between 1 and 2 years of age, and Neuroblastoma is rarely found in children over the age of 10. 

What are the causes of Neuroblastoma?

Unfortunately, it is not known why abnormal neuroblasts develop. DNA mutations during fetal development are believed to be linked to the development of neuroblastoma, but do not have a specific cause or trigger. These mutations are not caused by a lifestyle or linked to environmental factors.

What are the Symptoms and When Does it Occur?

Signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma vary depending on what part of the body is affected. Most commonly these symptoms include:

Neuroblastoma in the abdomen:

   Neuroblastoma in the chest:

How are Giant Cell Tumors Diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests used for Neuroblastoma include:

How is Neuroblastoma treated?

Once neuroblastoma is diagnosed, further testing will determine the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other organs. This process is called staging and will help determine what treatment is appropriate.

While Neuroblastoma may be a concerning diagnosis, treatment for these tumors has advanced rapidly over the past decade. Your team at Baylor Scott & White Greater Dallas Orthopaedics is here to provide insight, support, and innovative treatment strategies to equip you or your loved one to return to function promptly. Reach out to GDO today to learn more.