A risk factor is something that increases the risk of developing cancer. It could be a behaviour, substance or condition. Most cancers are the result of many risk factors. But sometimes neuroblastoma develops in children who don’t have any of the risk factors described below.
Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumour outside of the brain in children. It accounts for 8%–10% of all cancers in children.
About 80% of neuroblastomas occur before the age of 5, and the average age at diagnosis is 2.5 years. It is the most common cancer in babies under the age of 1 year. Neuroblastoma is very rare in children over 10 years of age. This cancer occurs slightly more often in boys than in girls.
The following are risk factors for neuroblastoma. All of the known risk factors are not modifiable. This means that you can’t change or avoid them. Until we learn more about these risk factors, there are no specific ways you can reduce the risk.
Risk factors are generally listed in order from most to least important. But in most cases, it is impossible to rank them with absolute certainty.
|Known risk factors|
There is convincing evidence that the following factors increase the risk for neuroblastoma.
About 1%–2% of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma have a family history of the disease. The risk for neuroblastoma seems to be highest for siblings or an identical twin of children who already have the disease.
Genetic conditions are caused by changes to certain chromosomes. These chromosome changes are passed from parents to children. Neuroblastoma has been known to develop in children with the following genetic conditions, which involve changes in immature nerve cells (called neural crest cells, or neuroblasts). Other chromosome changes have also been found in children with neuroblastoma.
It isn’t known whether or not the following factors are linked with neuroblastoma. It may be that researchers can’t show a definite link or that studies have had different results. Further study is needed to see if the following are risk factors for neuroblastoma:
Brock has been cancer free for over a decade, thanks to the support we received from the Canadian Cancer Society.
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