It is difficult to diagnose neuroblastoma - many doctors will never see a case of the disease throughout the course of their entire career because of its rarity. 

The disease does not always present with the same symptoms, often very similar to those of less severe childhood illnesses. 

Potential symptoms

Because neuroblastoma often occurs in the adrenal glands or abdomen, a common symptom is a lump in the child's tummy, causing it to be painful and swell.

There are also occasions where neuroblastoma appears as a lump in the neck.

Other signs could be:

  • a fever
  • pain in joints or bones
  • a limp (difficulty walking)
  • tiredness/weakness
  • lack of appetite/weight loss
  • sweating
  • bruising

Tragically, because of the difficulty diagnosing the disease, many children are seriously ill and suffering severe pain by the time treatment is started.


If your child any of these symptoms and you are worried, see your GP, they may refer your child to a specialist. Having these symptoms doesn't mean your child has neuroblastoma.

Read more about how neuroblastoma is diagnosed.