Neuroblastoma (NB) is a rare cancer of the nervous system striking about 600 children in the U.S. per year. Neuroblastoma is a solid tumor cancer that begins in the nerve tissue of the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis but usually originates in the abdomen in the tissue of the adrenal gland. It's a form of cancer that occurs in infants and children, is rarely found in children older than 10 years. There are many angles of causes being researched but the main idea is that cells of this cancer usually resemble very primitive developing nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. There is very little known about why neuroblastoma occurs, or about what factors increase the risk for occurrence and currently there is no known cure.
Seventeen years ago this was 100% fatal. While treatment is improving, the statistics are still sobering. In as many as 7 of 10 cases, the disease is not diagnosed until it has already spread (metastasized) meaning treatment is more intensive and has to start quicker.
Prognosis for neuroblastoma is dependent on age, stage of disease, and the molecular biologic and cytogenetic characteristics of the tumor. Children have the best chance if they are diagnosed by age five (nearly 90% of cases are), and if it is in early stage (four stages in total). This is still a very tricky disease. Over 50% patients who go through remission will relapse and the chances of survival are even slimmer.
The Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation has created a wonderful handbook for parents of children in treatment and covers a variety of issues. Pass it along!
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." - Edmund Burke
February 4th is World Cancer Day and September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. While these dates bring short attention to the cause it is the everyday work year round that brings the real progress. This page is designed to share ways that you can help spread awareness and help get funding for research of NB. Sometimes we can't hold a full fundraising event for something that we know is such a good cause to support. This is a start to what you can do to help others.
I heard somewhere that it takes around 25 letters passing their desk before it gets their attention so make copies and get your family and friends involved.
The Healthy Families Act eases some of the tough choices facing American families today. It provides full-time employees with a minimum seven days of paid sick leave to be used to recover from their own illness or to care for a sick family member. It also benefits business by lowering employee turnover costs and ensuring that a healthy, productive workforce is on the job. The petition is run by the Candlelighters Foundation.