Wilms’ tumor is a rare kidney cancer that initially affects children. Also called nephroblastoma, it is the most prevalent cancer of the kidneys in children. Wilms’ tumor most often influences children ages three to four and becomes much less popular after age five. Wilms’ tumor most often happens in just one kidney, though Wilms tumor can usually be found in both kidneys at the same time. Over the years, advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of Wilms’ tumor have significantly developed the outlook for children with this disease. With the right treatment of Wilms Tumor, the vision for most children with Wilms’ tumor is excellent.
Symptoms of Wilms Tumor
Signs and symptoms of Wilms’ tumor differ widely, and some children do not show any apparent signs. But most children feel one or more of these signs and symptoms of Wilms tumor:
1) An abdominal mass you can experience
2) Abdominal swelling
3) Abdominal pain
Other signs and symptoms of Wilms tumor may consist of:
Wilms Tumor Causes
It is unclear what causes Wilms’ tumor, but in some cases, heredity may play a role. Cancer starts when cells produce errors in their DNA. The errors permit the cells to increase and divide uncontrollably and to go on living when other cells would die. The accumulating cells form a tumor. In Wilms’ tumor, this process happens in the kidney cells.
In rare cases, the errors in DNA that generate to Wilms’ tumor causes are passed from a parent to the child. In maximum cases, there is an unknown link between parents and children that may produce cancer.
Diagnosis of Wilms Tumor
For the diagnosis of Wilms’ tumor, the child’s doctor may suggest:
1) A physical test: The doctor will watch for possible signs of Wilms’ tumor.
2) Blood and urine tests: These lab tests can not identify Wilms’ tumor, but they can indicate how well the kidneys are working and uncover particular kidney problems or low blood counts.
3) Imaging tests: Tests that make images of the kidneys assist the doctor in understanding whether the child has a kidney tumor. Imaging tests may involve an ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Staging of Wilms Tumor
Once the child’s doctor diagnoses Wilms’ tumor, he or she works to understand the stage of Wilms tumor. The doctor may suggest a chest X-ray or chest CT scan and bone scan follow whether cancer has extended beyond the kidneys. The doctor assigns a stage to cancer, which assists in understanding the treatment choices. In the United States, guidelines developed through the National Wilms Tumor Study of the Children’s Oncology Group involve these five stages:
1) Stage I: The cancer is found only in one kidney, is fully contained within the kidney, and can be omitted entirely with surgery.
2) Stage II: Cancer has extended to the tissues and structures beyond the affected kidney, like nearby fat or blood vessels, but it can still be entirely eliminated by surgery.
3) Stage III: Cancer has expanded beyond the kidney area to nearby lymph nodes or other structures within the abdomen, the tumor may spill within the abdomen before or during surgery, or it may not be entirely omitted by surgery.
4) Stage IV: Cancer has expanded outside the kidney to distant structures, like the lungs, liver, bones, or brain.
5) Stage V: Cancer cells are found in both kidneys.
Wilms Tumor Treatment
Treatment of Wilms’ tumor typically includes surgery and chemotherapy and often radiation therapy. Treatments may differ from the stage of cancer. Because this type of cancer is occasional, the child’s doctor may suggest that you seek treatment of Wilms tumor at a children’s cancer center that has experience treating this type of cancer.
1) Surgery to eliminate all or part of a kidney
3) Radiation therapy
Prevention of Wilms Tumor
It is not possible to prevent Wilms tumor by anything you or your child can do. If the child has risk factors for Wilms’ tumor, the doctor may suggest periodic kidney ultrasounds to watch for kidney abnormalities. Although this screening can not prevent Wilms’ tumor, it may assist in identifying the disease at the primary stage.