What is Wilms tumour?

Wilms’ tumour is a rare type of tumour that usually develops in the kidneys. It causes symptoms such as pain, swelling, and kidney problems.

There are two types of Wilms tumour:

  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PNET)
  • Renal cell carcinoma (RCC)

Wilms tumour can affect children of all ages, but it mostly occurs in children aged 1015 years.

What are the symptoms of Wilms tumour?

Symptoms of Wilms tumour include:

  • Swelling in the tumour area
  • Tumour in the kidney
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blood in the urine

If Wilms tumour is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the body. It usually spreads to the lungs and brain.

What are the risk factors of Wilms tumour?

The risk factors for Wilms tumour include:

  • Inherited syndrome (genetic and/or hereditary condition)
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to certain viruses
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Family history of Wilms tumour
  • Family history of cancer
  • Family history of kidney cancer

How is Wilms tumour diagnosed?

Your child’s doctor will ask questions about your child’s symptoms and medical history. They may also do a physical exam and order some blood tests.

If your child has a tumour in their kidney, they may have an ultrasound or CT scan to find out if the tumour is solid or fluid-filled. The tumour will also be checked for any genetic changes, such as mutations.

How is Wilms tumour treated?

Wilms tumour cannot be cured. But it can be treated to help your child feel better, such as:

  • Treating the tumour. The type of treatment will depend on the type of tumour.

Some conditions that can affect children include:

  • Kidney problems, such as blockages or urinary tract infections
  • Blood disorders, such as anaemia
  • Immune system problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Congenital abnormalities, such as kidney or liver abnormalities

Your child’s doctor will recommend the best treatment for your child’s condition.

Treatment may include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Surgery
  • Targeted therapy

What is the long-term outlook for children with Wilms tumour?

The outlook for Wilms tumour depends on how far the disease has spread.

Early treatment can help your child’s symptoms and may improve their outlook. Your child’s doctor will discuss the best treatment plan with you.

Wilms tumour can cause:

  • Kidney failure
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney damage

There is a small chance that Wilms tumour can return after treatment.

How can I help my child live with Wilms tumour?

You can help your child manage their condition by:

  • Watching for symptoms, such as blood in the urine
  • Taking your child to the doctor if they develop any symptoms
  • Treating any pain or discomfort from the tumour
  • Treating any kidney or tumour related problem, such as urinary tract infections or kidney stones
  • Keeping your child active
  • Helping them understand their condition and symptoms
  • Maintaining a good relationship with your child’s doctor
  • Keeping all follow-up appointments for your child
  • Taking your child’s temperature to check for fever and other symptoms

Outlook for Wilms tumour

Some children with Wilms tumour will have complete remission. They may not need treatment.

Children who have Wilms tumour may have a better outlook if they receive treatment early. Treatment can help your child feel better.

Survival rates for Wilms tumour are improving. Treatment usually consists of chemotherapy.

How can I help prevent Wilms tumour?

Some children with Wilms tumour may have a greater chance of developing it again if they are exposed to certain chemicals.

Your doctor can help you understand what your child may have been exposed to.

Outcome for Wilms tumour is usually worse for children who develop it after the age of 1 year.

Living with Wilms tumour

Follow-up appointments are important to help your child manage their condition.

Your child’s doctor can help you understand what to expect during these appointments.

Your child’s tumour will grow and spread over time. This can cause other problems.

Helpful resources

  • Our knowledge of Wilms tumour
  • Treatment for Wilms tumour

Other conditions affecting children

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)
  • Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)
  • Brain tumours
  • Breast cancer
  • Childhood cancer
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukaemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Neurofibromatosis (NF1)
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
  • Osteopetrosis
  • Parathyroid tumours
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Wilms tumour

Find out about other conditions affecting children

  • Cancer
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Cancer in children
  • Cancer in pregnancy
  • Children
  • Congenital conditions
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Haemophilia
  • Immune disorders
  • Infectious diseases
  • Leukaemia in children
  • Lymphoma in children
  • Meningitis
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Paediatric oncology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • Rare diseases
  • Scoliosis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Systemic sclerosis (SSc)
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Vascular disorders
  • Vitiligo

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