Neuroblastoma is a kind of cancer that usually happens to children and infants. This kind of cancer mostly affects the Autonomic nervous system. The cancer creates tumors, but the cells (pieces) of the tumors do not fully finish growing. There are about 650 cases per year in the United States. About half of these cases occur in children younger than two years old. The tumors can grow from any neural crest element of the sympathetic nervous system. Most of the time, it comes from one of the adrenal glands. It can also start growing in nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis.
Neuroblastoma is one of the few malignant types of cancer that sometimes goes away on its own, for no obvious reason. The illness can have many different forms. There are three risk categories (types): low, intermediate (medium), and high risk. Low-risk disease is most common in infants, who usually get better, though they may need to have surgery. High-risk disease is very difficult for doctors to make better.
Esthesioneuroblastoma, which is also called "olfactory neuroblastoma", comes from the olfactory epithelium and doctors are still not sure what type of cancer it is. It is not a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system, and is not the same thing as neuroblastoma.
- Janet Sassi, "Cellular Communication: Unraveling the Secrets of Histone Proteins", Fordham University, February 16, 2007
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