Wilms tumor is a growth of abnormal cells that form tumors in the kidney. It most often affects children between 3 and 8 years of age. Wilms tumor usually affects just one kidney, but it may affect both kidneys.
The kidneys are located inside your body on each side of the spine, just above the waist. They filter waste out of the blood, control the balance of salt and water in your body, and they make urine.
The sooner cancer is found and treated, the better your child's chances for recovery. However, even advanced cancer can usually be treated. Treatment may slow or stop the growth of the cancer and ease symptoms for a time. Ask your healthcare provider what you can expect with the type of cancer that your child has.
The exact cause of this tumor is unknown. The tumor is linked with birth defects of the genitals, urinary tract, eyes, and other parts of your child's body. It tends to run in families and may be caused by changes in certain genes.
Your child may appear healthy or may have:
Wilms tumors can grow quite large without causing pain.
Wilms tumor may be hard to diagnose. Sometimes tumors are found when X-rays are taken for other reasons. Your child's health care provider will ask about symptoms and examine your child. The provider will want to know if there's a family history of cancer or birth defects of the genitals or urinary system.
Tests may include:
Your child may also have a chest X-ray or bone scan to find out if the cancer has spread beyond the kidneys.
You and your healthcare provider will discuss possible treatments for your child. You may also talk with surgeon and a cancer specialist. Some things to think about when making treatment decisions are:
Possible treatments are:
Your child's treatment will also include:
Often, more than 1 type of treatment is used. Your child will need to have regular follow-up visits with his or her healthcare provider.
Ask your healthcare provider about clinical trials that might be available to your child. Clinical trials are research studies to find new cancer treatments. It’s always your choice whether your child takes part in one or not.
If your child has been diagnosed with Wilms tumor:
It may also help if your child:
For more information, contact: