According to multiple sources, neuroblastoma is one of the most common childhood tumors (Zaoutis & Chiang, 2017). In the majority of cases, this form of cancer is diagnosed before the child reaches the age of five (until the formation of the sympathetic ganglia). The complexity of the disease lies in the fact that the patient develops distant metastases by the time the primary diagnosis is specified. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the aspects of this cancer type and determine if it may be cured someday.
It is worth noting that, with this disease, a number of changes occur in normal cellular function. In particular, the neoplasm develops from progenitor cells of the sympathetic nervous system. Moreover, cancer cells can be detected everywhere along the sympathetic nerve chain. Tumor proliferation is associated with the intensity of the growth and development of the sympathetic nervous system in children (American Cancer Society, 2018).
Both endogenous and exogenous factors can influence the occurrence of proliferation. Cytogenetic and molecular genetic abnormalities in tumor cells can lead to dysregulation and loss of balance between genes that perform the suppressive function.
It should be stressed that it is impossible to avoid the formation of neoplasms by keeping the rate of reproduction and differentiation of cells within normal limits. This is due to the fact that there are no risk factors that could be avoided (Hay, Levin, Deterding, & Abzug, 2018). For this reason, many researchers do not give any specific recommendations for preventing the development of neuroblastoma. However, in the presence of familial cases of neuroblastoma, a geneticist should be consulted to clarify the risk of this tumor in a child.
In general, the control of the development of the disease is associated with monitoring the symptoms. However, as a rule, they are nonspecific and depend on localization and rarely cause anxiety in the early stages of cancer development. More than 65% of malignant neoplasms occur in the abdominal cavity, while about half of the neuroblastomas are localized in the adrenal glands (Hay et al., 2018).
For this reason, experts recommend having a child examined in the presence of symptoms such as abdominal pain, a feeling of discomfort in the area, a motionless neoplasm in the abdominal cavity, impaired functioning of the intestines and bladder in a child. Some experts in the field provide general recommendations for preventing neuroblastoma, such as detecting precancerous conditions, risk-reducing operations, chemoprevention, and so on. Nevertheless, there is no solid evidence proving that these measures will allow keeping cell reproduction rate and differentiation within the normal range.
Cure for Neuroblastoma
It is impossible to answer unequivocally if this cancer type may be cured one day due to the fact that there are various forms of neuroblastomas. Some forms of this cancer do not require treatment and go into remission, while some other types of neuroblastomas are fatal since they do not respond to current treatment methods. Therefore, the same therapy is effective for one type of neuroblastoma but is not suitable for another type of tumor (Zaoutis & Chiang, 2017).
At the current state of the development of evidence-based medicine, there are effective methods to inhibit the growth of tumors, but eradication is not yet possible. In order to cure neuroblastoma of all types, it is necessary to find new methods of treatment that will use existing drugs previously recommended for other indications.
Thus, it can be concluded that neuroblastoma is a common malignant tumor observed in children, which affects the nervous system. This form of cancer can develop in a certain type of nerve tissue anywhere in the body. The symptomatology of the disease depends on where the neuroblastoma develops and how far it has spread. At present, the treatment of neuroblastoma depends on the type of tumor detected in a child. Further researches are needed to determine if this cancer type may be treated.
American Cancer Society. (2018). What causes neuroblastoma? Web.
Hay, W. W., Levin, M. J., Deterding, R. R., & Abzug, M. J. (2018). Current diagnosis and treatment pediatrics (24th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.
Zaoutis, L. B., & Chiang, V. W. (2017). Comprehensive pediatric hospital medicine (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.