February 2nd is Neuroblastoma Awareness Day!
It’s important to know more about this rare cancer, since knowledge and familiarity are often the engines of progress.
What is Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a cancer that forms from immature nerve cells in nerve tissue, usually beginning in the adrenal glands. Neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and In the chest, neck, and near the spine, where groups of nerve cells exist.
Neuroblastoma usually begins in early childhood, with about two thirds of the cases presenting before the age of 5. It can be present at birth, but is most often diagnosed much later when the child begins to show symptoms of the disease. In the majority of cases, neuroblastoma has already spread to areas outside of the original site at the time of diagnosis.
Symptoms can include:
- lump or mass in the abdomen, neck, chest, or pelvis
- loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty urinating
- changes in the eyes: black eyes, a droopy eyelid, a pupil that doesn’t constrict, vision problems
- pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, persistent cough
- in infants, painless, bluish lumps under the skin
- bone pain, fever, irritability, listlessness
- pain or numbness in the lower extremities, limping, inability to stand, stumbling
What Can We do to Bring Awareness?
- Educate yourself and/or educate others about this rare form of cancer. It’s important to know more about this deadly, child-affecting disease. Remember – knowledge is power!
- Pass along this important resource about screening for neuroblastoma.
- Be aware of resources that are available – including: St. Jude’s Hospital, KidsHealth.org, and the American Cancer Society.
- Deck yourself out in all the purple you can find! Purple is the official color of Neuroblastoma, so wear anything you can that’s purple and foster a conversation about Neuroblastoma. By calling attention to yourself in your best piece of purple, you are calling attention to the Neuroblastoma patient community.