Neuroblastoma - Childhood: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2023

ON THIS PAGE:  You will find information about the estimated number of children who will be diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with a tumor are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this tumor and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for your child individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma?

Each year, about 700 to 800 children in the United States are diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma accounts for 6% of all childhood cancers in the United States.

About 90% of neuroblastoma is found in children younger than 5. The average age of diagnosis is between 1 and 2 years old. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer diagnosed in children younger than 1. It is rare in people older than 10.

What is the survival rate for neuroblastoma?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from neuroblastoma. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having a tumor may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with neuroblastoma are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this tumor.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for children with neuroblastoma are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if the tumor will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 5-year relative survival rate for neuroblastoma in children under age 15 is 82%.

The survival rates for neuroblastoma vary based on several factors. These include the stage and risk grouping of the tumor and how well the treatment plan works.

For children with low-risk neuroblastoma, the 5-year relative survival rate is higher than 95%. For children with intermediate-risk neuroblastoma, the 5-year relative survival rate is between 90% and 95%. For children with high-risk neuroblastoma, the 5-year relative survival rate is around 50%.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for neuroblastoma every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how neuroblastoma is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society website. Additional source was: Seigel R, et al.: Cancer Statistics 2023. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2023 Jan; 73(1):17–48. doi/full/10.3322/caac.21763. (All sources accessed February 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by neuroblastoma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.