To diagnose ganglioneuroblastomas, the doctor may ask about the child's symptoms and run some tests. These tests include blood, urine, imaging, and bone scans.
Blood and urine samples can detect specific chemicals released by the tumor, such as lactate dehydrogenase, ferritin, dopamine, homovanillic acid, and vanillylmandelic acid.
Imaging tests, such as a chest X-ray (CXR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a computerized tomography (CT) scan, allow the doctor to see inside the body for the possible cancer and to see if it has spread to other parts of the body. These tests may also let the doctor see if the treatment is working against the cancer.
Bone scans, such as a metaiodobenzylguanidine (mIBG), may also be helpful for finding the cancer if there is bone involvement. mIBG has specificity and sensitivity for bone and bone marrow diseases.
If these tests show cancer, a biopsy may be performed, where a small portion of the cancer may be removed with a needle. The removed portion is then viewed under a microscope. This allows the doctor to be certain that it is indeed a ganglioneuroblastoma.
If a diagnosis is made, the tumor is then staged, based on the International Neuroblastoma Staging System (INSS). The stage of the tumor is based on respectability, local lymph node involvement, localization, and dissemination. Staging is done in order to tailor treatment and evaluate the prognosis.
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