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Paediatric neuroblastoma presenting as an asymptomatic abdominal mass: a report on the importance of a complete clinical examination with a view to a timely diagnosis and therapeutic guidance in paediatric oncology
  1. Cátia Granja1,2 and
  2. Lourdes Mota2
  1. 1 Paediatric, Centro Hospitalar e Universitario de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal
  2. 2 Paediatric, Hospital Distrital da Figueira da Foz, Figueira da Foz, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cátia Granja; catigranja{at}


Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial solid tumour in children after lymphoblastic leukaemias, brain tumours and lymphomas.

We report a case of an NB in a previously healthy toddler. Though she had no abdominal complaints, on physical examination, she had a palpable mass identified over the right upper portion of the abdomen. Imaging studies demonstrated a heterogeneous tumour with an irregular capsule and visible calcifications.

After initial diagnosis, the patient underwent chemotherapy and was subjected to a radical resection of the tumour 4 months later. One-year follow-up of the patient showed no recurrence.

In children, oncological diseases are often asymptomatic or have non-specific symptoms, and in remote locations where specialised/paediatric services may not be available, the importance of medical training in paediatrics is highlighted, with emphasis on performing a complete clinical examination, namely abdominal palpation. The role of timely referral will be evident in such a situation.

  • Healthcare improvement and patient safety
  • Medical management
  • Medical education
  • Paediatric oncology

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the design of this protocol. CG observed the patient, collected data and constructed the article. LM acted as scientific advisor and critically reviewed the study proposal. Both authors guided the patient and followed the treatment and his clinical evolution. All authors contributed to the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.