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Treating Neuroblastoma TOPICS

How is neuroblastoma treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

Children with neuroblastoma and their families have special needs. These needs can be met best by cancer centers for children, working closely with the child’s primary care doctor. These centers have teams of specialists who understand the differences between cancers in adults and those in children, as well as the unique needs of younger people with cancer.

Treating neuroblastoma is complex and often requires the expertise of many different doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. The doctors on the treatment team often include:

  • A pediatric cancer surgeon
  • A pediatric oncologist (doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat childhood cancers)
  • A pediatric radiation oncologist (doctor who uses radiation therapy to treat cancer in children)

Many other specialists may be involved in your child’s care as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals. You can read more about this in our document Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Understanding the Health Care System.

Treatment of neuroblastoma depends on the stage of the cancer, the child’s age, and other factors such as the prognostic markers mentioned previously. The types of treatment used can include:

Some children will get more than one type of treatment. Your child’s cancer care team will discuss the treatment options with you. It’s important to discuss these options and their possible side effects with your child’s doctors so you can make an informed decision. (For a list of some questions to ask, see the section “What should you ask your child’s doctor about neuroblastoma?”)

The next few sections describe the types of treatment used for neuroblastomas. This is followed by a discussion of when these treatments are used in different situations.

Last Medical Review: 03/14/2014
Last Revised: 03/10/2015