Treatment and outlook for neuroblastoma

The main treatments for neuroblastoma are:

  • surgery to remove the cancer sometimes this may be all that's needed
  • chemotherapy (where medication is used to kill cancer cells) this may be the only treatment needed or it may be given to shrink the cancer before surgery
  • radiotherapy (where radiation is used to kill cancer cells) this may sometimes be used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells in the affected area
  • high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant where stem cells from your child are collected, frozen and stored prior to intensive chemotherapy, and are given back to them afterwards
  • immunotherapy where a medication that directly targets the neuroblastoma cells is given,although this isn't used routinely yet

Some babies and infants less than 18 months old with either stage L1 or Ms neuroblastoma who have no symptoms may not need any treatment, as the cancer can sometimes go away on its own.

The outlook for neuroblastoma varies considerably, and is generally better for younger children whose cancer hasn't spread. Your doctors will be able to give you more specific information about your child.

Almost half of neuroblastomas are a type that can return despite intensive treatment.Further treatment will often be necessary in these cases.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018