Can Teenagers Get Neuroblastoma & Can A Mother Pass Cancer To Her Child?

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of nerve cells in young children. It is cancer that develops outside the brain. It is a common childhood cancer that claims 15% of childhood deaths. It affects children under the age of 5 years. It starts from the adrenal glands. It tends to spread to the other parts of the body. Its symptoms include irritability, weakness, fevers, swelling in the abdomen and anemia. It is diagnosed by MRI or CT scan and ultrasound. It is often managed with chemotherapy, surgery, and bone marrow transplantation.

Can Teenagers Get Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is common cancer that develops in neuroblast cells in young children. It may develop anywhere in the sympathetic chain outside the brain. It never grows in the central nervous system. It may majorly develop from the adrenal glands located at the top of the kidneys. It is the most common tumor among all childhood malignancy. It is the third common cancer that develops in the child after leukemia (blood cancer) and brain cancers. It is the reason for the death of children due to cancer in 15% of the cases.(1)

Neuroblastoma develops in early forms of nerve cells. These cells are found in developing embryo or fetus in the mother’s womb. This cancer has resulted from improper maturation of nerve cells. It undergoes excessive multiplication. It leads to an accumulation of excess abnormal cells leading to the development of the tumors.(2)

Neuroblastoma tends to develop in infants or children above 12-18 months. Infants develop neuroblastoma in less aggressive form and their tumors are usually benign in nature. Children who are above 12-18 months are likely to develop aggressive neuroblastoma that can spread to vital parts of the body.(3) The mean age of presentation of these tumors is 22 months.(1)

Neuroblastoma is diagnosed in 95% of cases under the age of 10 years. Some of its cases are detected in the antenatal check-up or soon after the birth.(1) It is rarely seen in children above the age of 10 years. Teenagers are very rarely affected by neuroblastoma.(5)

The exact causes of neuroblastoma are not known. It is formed in the developmental process of the fetus where normal neuroblasts cells tend to mature into nerve cells or cells of adrenal glands. When these cells do not mature properly and keep on growing, then they form a mass called a tumor. The uncontrolled growth and improper maturity of the nerve cells result in the appearance of neuroblastoma.(3)

Can A Mother Pass Cancer To Her Child?

Neuroblastoma usually develops when the child is born and his neuroblast cells fail to mature properly. Many of these immature neuroblasts die on their own in many cases. Only in a few cases, they grow into cancer as the baby ages.(3)

In rare cases, neuroblastomas are inherited from the parents to the children. The genetic inheritance of defective genes can be causative agents in some cases. Specific oncogenes mutations may cause this disorder. The cancer cells may pass on from mother to her babies. However, the majority of the cases does not develop due to genetic inheritance. It is because gene changes occur in the early developmental phase of the child when he was baby inside the mother’s womb. These changes in the DNA appear in the cancer cells of the child itself which cannot be passed on to his or her future children.(3)

Conclusion

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of neuroblast cells that develop in infancy age of a child. These tumors develop when neuroblast cells fail to mature. It develops in children below the age of 5 years and rarely above the age of 10 years. It may develop in teenage children in rare cases. In some cases, this cancer is passed on from the mother to the child.

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