Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system and most commonly occurs on the adrenal glands or nerve tissue in the spinal cord in the chest, abdomen and neck. It is classified as a rare cancer as it affects 100-150 children a year. It’s the second most common solid tumour (brain tumours being most common) and is renowned for being difficult to treat. Generally it affects children under five years however older children are also diagnosed with it and it is known that babies can be diagnosed while still in gestation.
Neuroblastoma is diagnosed in stages and this can vary from the age a child is diagnosed. Staging is a term describing if the tumours have spread from the original site. Staging is classified from stages one to four, one being the tumour in the original site and no evidence of spreading and four being widespread disease. Factors affecting the staging is if a child is under the age of 18 months, lymph node involvement and metastasis.
For more detail on staging please see the International Neuroblastoma Risk Group’s staging information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2650389