Treating Neuroblastoma

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. For more information about finding a pediatric cancer center and the specialists that work in these centers, see How to Find the Best Cancer Treatment for Your Child.

Treatment of neuroblastoma depends on the risk group of the cancer, the child’s age, and other factors, and might include more than one type of treatment. (Treatment based on the risk group is discussed here.)

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. It's also important to ask questions if there's anything you don't understand or are not sure about. (For a list of some questions to ask, see Questions to Ask About Neuroblastoma for some ideas.)

The types of treatment used for neuroblastoma can include:

Thinking about a clinical trial

Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they are not right for everyone.

If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for your child, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials. See Clinical Trials to learn more.

Considering complementary and alternative methods

You may hear about alternative or complementary methods that your doctor hasn’t mentioned to treat cancer or relieve symptoms. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.

Complementary methods refer to treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of standard medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping you feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be dangerous.

Be sure to talk to your child’s cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what is known (or not known) about the method, which can help you make an informed decision. See Complementary and Alternative Medicine to learn more.

Help getting through cancer treatment

The cancer care team will be your first source of information and support, but there are other resources for help when you need it. Hospital- or clinic-based support services are an important part of your child’s care. These might include nursing or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, rehab, or spiritual help.

The American Cancer Society also has programs and services – including rides to treatment, lodging, and more – to help you get through treatment. Call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 and speak with one of our trained specialists.

The treatment information given here is not official policy of the American Cancer 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.