What is Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma Facts

  • Neuroblastoma is a common and often difficult to treat cancer; the most common cancer in infancy. (UCSF)
    In the United States, about 700 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year. (UCSF)
  • It is the most common tumor found in children younger than 1 year of age.
  • Neuroblastoma is the most common extra cranial solid tumor cancer in children.
  • Every 16 hours a child with neuroblastoma dies.
  • There is no known cure for relapsed neuroblastoma.
  • Nearly 70% of those children first diagnosed with neuroblastoma have disease that has already metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. When disease has spread at diagnosis and a child is over the age of 2, there is approximately a 40% chance of survival.

Childhood Cancer Facts

  • There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every one child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.
  • The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) federal budget was $4.6 billion. Of that, breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7%, and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers combined received less than 3%.
  • The American Cancer Society spends less than 70 cents of each 100 dollars raised on childhood cancer.
  • Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children–more children die of cancer than of Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes and Pediatric AIDS combined.
  • Sadly, over 2,300 children with cancer die each year.
  • Every year 13,500 children under 18 are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Children’s Oncology Group)
  • 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer by age 20. (St. Baldrick’s Foundation)
  • Cancers in very young children are highly aggressive and behave unlike malignant diseases at other times in life.
  • 80% of children have metastasized cancer at the time of their diagnosis. At diagnosis, only 20% of adults with cancer show evidence that the disease has spread or metastasized.
  • Detecting childhood cancers at an early stage, when the disease would react more favorably to treatment, is extremely difficult.
  • Cancer symptoms in children – fever, swollen glands, anemia, bruises and infection – are often suspected to be, and at the early stages are treated as, other childhood illnesses.
  • Even with insurance coverage, a family will have out-of pocket expenses of about $40,000 per year, not including travel.
  • Treatment can continue for several years, depending on the type of cancer and the type of therapy given.
  • Due to the toxicity of treatments, 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a chronic health problem by the age of 45; 80% will have severe or life-threatening conditions. (St. Baldrick’s Foundation)

What Causes Childhood Cancer?

  • Every family is potentially at risk.
  • In almost all cases, childhood cancers arise from non-inherited mutations (or changes) in the genes of growing cells.
  • As these errors occur randomly and unpredictably, there is currently no effective way to predict or prevent them.
  • Most adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupational hazards and exposure to other cancer causing agents.