MedicineNet describes neuroblastoma as a form of cancer in which malignant cells form in the nerve tissue of the adrenal gland, neck, chest or spinal cord. It most often occurs in infants and children age 10 or younger, although in some rare circumstances, it occurs in older children.
While the exact cause of neuroblastoma is not fully understood, Mayo Clinic explains that the cancer begins with a genetic mutation that results in otherwise normal and healthy cells mutating and continuing to grow out of control, thus forming a tumor. Early symptoms usually include fever, malaise, general pain or sick feeling and loss of appetite. As the disease progresses, the individual may experience difficulty breathing, flushed and red skin, profuse sweating, and rapid heart rate, according to PubMed Health.
Mayo Clinic notes that diagnosing the disease is usually confirmed by physical examination, urine and blood tests, biopsy of a tissue sample and imaging tests, such as a CT scans, X-ray and MRI. Once the diagnosis has been confirmed and the severity of the disease determined, the treating physician has a range of treatment options to choose from, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, and in the most severe cases, surgery.