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 September 29, 2003
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Surgical Treatment for Common Childhood Cancer
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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Japanese investigators say complete excision of the tumor and removal of associated lymph nodes results in good long term disease-free survival for children with abdominal neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma is a common form of cancer in children. In the late stages of the disease, the cure rate is low, despite aggressive treatment including bone marrow transplant and intensive chemotherapy. However, when the disease is diagnosed in the early stages, surgery to remove the tumor provides good results. Removing associated lymph nodes could improve survival in early and late stage cases, but doctors hesitate to remove associated lymph nodes due to fears the intervention might lead to bowel, kidney, and, later on, sexual functioning problems for boys.

These researchers evaluated outcomes for 47 children with varying stages of the disease who underwent surgery to remove both the tumor and associated lymph nodes. Fifteen post-operative complications were noted in 12 of the patients. Diarrhea was the most common complication, occurring in eight patients. Most of the complications adequately resolved on their own or with treatment. There were no deaths from the surgery.

The patients were followed for about eight years. All 30 children who originally suffered from stage I, II, III, or IV-S tumors survived without evidence of a recurrence of their disease. Among the 17 patients with the most severe tumors, stage IV, eight out of 17 were still alive without recurrence.

Researchers believe these findings show surgery to remove both the tumor and associated lymph nodes can be safely and effectively performed in children without undue side effects.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Archives of Surgery, 2003;137:711-715

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