Wilm’s tumour is a rare type of Kidney Cancer. Although, it is one of the most common types of cancer in children. It is also called nephroblastoma and mainly affects children between the age group of 3-4. It becomes less common after the age of 6, but in rare cases, it can also occur in older children or adults. Wilm’s tumour can affect one or both kidneys.
What is a Wilm’s tumour:
Like any other cancer, Wilm’s tumour also occurs when the abnormal cells in the body grow uncontrollably. Cancers can happen at any age, but Wilm’s tumour is primarily a form of childhood cancer.
Symptoms of Wilm’s tumour:
Signs and symptoms of Wilm’s tumour vary in different children. Most symptoms are similar to other childhood diseases, so an exact diagnosis plays an important role here. Some children show a lot of symptoms, and some offer only minor signs such as:
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal mass that can be felt by touch
- Abdominal swelling
Other common symptoms include:
- Hematuria or blood in the urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- High Blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Uneven growth
Causes of Wilm’s tumour
The exact cause of Wilm’s tumour is unknown. Genetic or environmental factors might be the risk factor. In rare cases, the errors in the DNA that lead to Wilms’ tumour are passed from a parent to the child. In most cases, there is no known connection between parents and children that may lead to cancer.
Risk factors include:
- Race: Wilm’s tumour is more likely to affect children of African-American origin
- Family history: if someone in the child’s family had Wilm’s tumour
- Children born with some birth defects such as Aniridia, or Hypospadias, are also at risk to have Wilm’s tumour.
- Females are at more risk to develop Wilm’s tumour.
Stages of Wilm’s tumour
To confirm the diagnosis of a Wilm’s tumour, a child has to undergo several tests such as:
- Complete blood count
- Urine test
- X-ray or Ultrasound of the abdomen
- CT scan
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the physician will analyze how advanced the tumour is through some more tests. Wilm’s tumour has five stages:
Stage 1: when the Wilm’s tumour has affected only one kidney and can be treated via surgical intervention.
Stage 2: when the tumour has metastasized to the tissues surrounding the kidney but can still be treated or removed via surgery.
Stage 3: when the tumour can’t be taken entirely out via the surgery and some part of it remains in the abdomen.
Stage 4: when cancer has moved to other organs in the body such as the lungs, brain, or liver
Stage 5: when the tumour is found in both the kidneys at the time of diagnoses
Treatment of Wilm’s Tumor
Based on the stage of cancer, the main treatment options include:
- Surgery to remove the tumour
- Radiation therapy
In most cases, children undergo a combination of treatment options depending on their health condition and stage of the disease.
As with any other cancer treatment, in Wilm’s tumour, children suffers from various complications due to the treatment procedures, medications, and chemotherapy. Some of the common complications include:
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Sleep disorders
- Urinary issues
- Increased risk of infection
The survival rate depends on the type of cancer, stage, and histopathology of the tumour. As per research, about 90% of children get cured if diagnosed at the right time and undergo suitable treatment options.