Pleuropulmonary Blastoma - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

Children with PPB may experience the following symptoms or signs. A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can identify and describe, such as fatigue, nausea, or pain. A sign is something that other people can identify and measure, such as a fever, rash, or an elevated pulse. Together, signs and symptoms can help describe a medical problem. Sometimes, children with PPB do not have any of the signs and symptoms described below. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a medical condition that is a not tumor. Because PPB is so rare, doctors often believe at first examination that the symptoms are caused by a common childhood illness.

There are 2 common sets of symptoms that may indicate PPB:

  • Sudden, stressful breathing may be caused by air escaping from the lung cysts into the chest cavity. This is called pneumothorax, meaning there is air in the chest cavity. However, there are many other causes of pneumothorax.

  • Symptoms of PPB may be exactly the same as symptoms of pneumonia, which is a lung/respiratory infection. These symptoms may include feeling generally unwell, a cough, a fever, and pain in the chest. Even when a chest x-ray is done, it may be first interpreted as pneumonia. It is common for children with PPB to have been treated for 2 to 3 weeks for pneumonia before more tests show that they likely have a tumor in the chest.

In addition, sometimes a lung cyst or tumor may be found when a chest x-ray is taken for another reason. See the Diagnosis section for more information on chest x-rays.

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your child’s doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often your child has been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If PPB is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your child’s medical care and treatment. This may be called "palliative care" or "supportive care." It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with the health care team about the symptoms your child experiences, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.