Saturday, July 29, 2006

What is Neuroblastoma? [Post #2 9:30 AM] [I'm off to shower after this posts! Maybe that will help me wake up!]

“Neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumors of early childhood usually found in babies or young children. The disease originates in the adrenal medulla or other sites of sympathetic nervous tissue. The most common site is the abdomen (near the adrenal gland) but can also be found in the chest, neck, pelvis, or other sites. Most patients have widespread disease at diagnosis.”

Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor in children under the age of one and it is more common in boys rather than girls. The tumor is mostly found near the adrenal glands which are above the kidneys. Each year one in every 100,000 children develop Neuroblastoma. In most cases by the time it is detected, the tumor has already spread to other parts of the body. Some symptoms are pale skin, diarrhea, swollen abdomen, chronic fatigue and rapid pulse. These symptoms take time to appear and that is why in most cases the tumor has already spread.

Neuroblastoma is divided into four stages
Stage 1: The cancer is localized (hasn’t spread). It is on one side of the body. All visible tumors are totally removed by surgery. Examination of the tumor's edges under the microscope may show some cancer cells. Lymph nodes enclosed within the tumor may contain Neuroblastoma cells, but lymph nodes outside of the tumor should be free of cancer.

Stage 2A: The cancer is localized, but because of its size, location, or relationship to other organs, most but not all of the tumor can be removed by surgery. It is on one side of the body. Lymph nodes enclosed within the tumor may contain Neuroblastoma cells, but lymph nodes outside of the tumor should be free of cancer.

Stage 2B: The cancer is localized, and may or may not be able to be totally removed by surgery. It is on one side of the body. Nearby lymph nodes outside the tumor contain Neuroblastoma cells, but the cancer has not spread to lymph nodes on the other side of the body or elsewhere.
Stage 3: The cancer cannot be completely removed by surgery or it has crossed the midline (defined as the spine) to the other side of the body. It may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes,
Or, it is on one side of the body but has spread to lymph nodes that are relatively nearby but on the other side of the body.
Or, it is in the middle of the body and growing toward both sides and cannot be completely removed by surgery.

Stage 4: The cancer has spread to distant sites such as distant lymph nodes, bone, liver, skin, bone marrow, or other organs. But the child does not meet criteria for stage 4S.

Stage 4S (also called "special" Neuroblastoma): In this case, the child is younger than 1-year-old. The cancer is on one side of the body and is localized. It may have spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the body but not to nodes on the other side. The Neuroblastoma has spread to the liver, skin, and/or the bone marrow. However, no more than 10% of marrow cells may be cancerous, and imaging studies do not show bone damage.

Recurrent: The cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the area where it first started or in another part of the body.

Nikki’s notes: That’s the technical jargon I found when researching this beast. To me, Neuroblastoma is a beast that attacks some great little people before they ever get a chance to thrive. It makes me angry that these little ones have to grow up so fast to tackle this beast. I want to help raise money for a cure!


Blogger Faye said...


You go, girl!

We'll be watching and checking in over the day.

Georgia & family

7/29/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger nikki the red said...

thank you! it helps to have people following along!

7/29/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I just woke up so I'm checking in!

7/29/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Stacey said...

Nikki...just want to thank you for what you are doing! My name is Stacey and I am a friend of Shelly & Rourke's...Eden's dad and wonderful step-mom. Eden has inspired so many people and I am sure all the wonderful kids that you are showcasing for the next 24 hours.

Again, thanks for caring about these great kids and their incredible families!

7/29/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger JohnX said...

I have dark circles under my eyes and so I went to my doctor and he pretty much brushed it off without any tests. He said it might be a food allergy of some kind. However I did some searching on the internet and on WEB MD I found that it could be a symptom of Neuroblastoma. I also have all of the other symptoms that you have listed here on this page. I've seen pictures of myself when I was a kid and I had really bad dark circles when I was about 5 to 10 years old. Then they seemed to go away. I never spent much time outside and therefore was usually a bit pale. As I am now, I work 10 hours a day inside a mountain so I don't get much sun. I also work in a cushy computer job so I don't get much exercise. That could account for the pale skin and "swollen abdomen". As far as a rapid pulse, I do have one of those as well. My father had heart problems and I've been diagnosed with having PVC or premature ventricular contractions which cause my rapid pulse. I also am tired alot but I have a 3 month old daughter and I never did really get alot of sleep before her anyway. Even when I did get alot of sleep, I sometimes felt more tired after sleeping for 10 plus hours. I'm also nervous alot and I worry about alot of things which could account for the diarhea. The only thing is, I'm 29 years old now. People tell me that with my dark circles and pale skin that I look tired and I've been told that I look like I have cancer. If I do have neuroblastoma and it started in early child hood, is it even possible for me to have gone this long without serious problems?

8/24/2006 07:28:00 PM  

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