Neuroblastoma develops from the cells left behind from a baby’s development in the womb. The cells that it develops from are called neuroblasts.
- ‘Neuro’ means nerve.
- ‘Blast’ means cells in early development.
- ‘Oma’ means a group of cells, or a tumour.
Neuroblastoma can occur anywhere in the body. The site of origin is either in one of the two adrenal glands situated in the abdomen (tummy) or in nerve tissue that runs alongside the spinal cord, in the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis. The adrenal glands are specialised glands that are found above the right and left kidney. The adrenal glands normally release hormones to maintain blood pressure, and enable us to respond to stress. In some cases, neuroblastoma can spread to tissues beyond the original site such as the bone marrow, bone, lymph nodes, liver, and skin.