Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that develops from the nerve cells called neuroblasts and affects around 100 children each year in the UK. It is unpredictable, difficult to diagnose, and one of the most common causes of cancer death in children under five.
The seriousness of the cancer depends on whether it is aggressive or benign and whether it has spread. It is often hard to diagnose neuroblastoma in the early stages, as initial symptoms may not immediately give cause for concern, for example aches and pains and loss of appetite. This means that the cancer often spreads before symptoms can be diagnosed.
Children with the condition may be treated with surgery to remove the tumour, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. However, due to the aggressiveness of the cancer and the difficulties with diagnosis, for many the current treatments are not effective and currently only 55% will recover.
How we’re helping
Sparks is funding a number of key research projects that aim to give children with neuroblastoma the best chance of survival while minimising the side effects of intensive treatment.
Dubois Child Cancer Fund (DCCF)
We have recently launched the Dubois Child Cancer Fund (DCCF) to help fund more life-saving research for children with neuroblastoma