Wilms Tumor (Nephroblastoma)

Wilms Tumor, also known as Nephroblastoma, is a cancer that develops in children. It is rare andusually occurs in children between 1 and 5 years; it affects boys as well as girls. The exact causes and factors of the cancer are not well known, but at most, it develops from embryonictissue from the kidney. This is not a “bad cancer” comparably to other types of malignant tumors; it has a high rate of healing.

Wilms Tumor is the most common malignant renal tumor in children and is associated withabnormal proliferation of cells resembling those of embryonic kidney, hence the term “embryonic tumor.”  The annual incidence is estimated to be about 1 child out of 10 000 births.

Causesand Risk Factors of Wilms Tumor

As with all cancers, the cells, in this case of embryonic type, multiply and cause the formation of a malignant tumor in the tissue affected. This cancer forms a mass in the abdomen, swelling rapidly and the volume quickly becomes associated with serious complications such as bleedingor/pain. In most cases, one kidney is affected, but the tumor can be bilateral in about 5% of cases

Signs and Symptoms of Wilms Tumor 

The tumor grows quickly in the stomach much faster than the development of the child. Health care professional or Parents end up noticing invariably during a medical visit or routine parental care. It usually causes no impact on general condition, but its discovery requiring prompt treatment to facilitate a good prognosis.

In most cases, Wilms Tumor is not responsible for any symptom, and its discovery is done by parents due to a palpable mass located in the abdomen. Sometimes, these other signs are associated with the mass:

  • Abdominal pain;
  • constipation;
  • bleeding in the urine
  • rush of blood pressure.

Wilms Tumor Diagnosis

In the absence of symptoms, it is only by hazard that one sees the presence of a ball in the stomach of the child. To confirm the presence of Wilms Tumor, a health care provider usually proceeds to an abdominal ultrasound, which is the test of choice to highlight the tumor. This imaging technique is frequently associated with abdominal CT scan. Once the tumor is confirmed,a staging is necessary to determine if there is migration of tumor cells to lymph nodessurrounding tissue or distant organs, metastatic Wilms Tumor.

Wilms Tumor Treatment

Wilms Tumor treatment options vary depending on the size of the tumor, its extension in the abdomen, but also the results of the staging. In general, the treatment consists firstly inchemotherapy, given cancer of the kidney is particularly susceptible to this type of treatment. The use of the chemo is to reduce the size of the tumor prior to surgical removal. Often the whole kidney is removed (nephrectomy).

Radiotherapy is also possible in advanced cases. In 80% of cases, the treatment of kidney cancerin children leads to healing. High-energy radiation (Co radiation) is used according to very specific protocols. This allows the post-operative treatment of residual cancer cells and thetreatment of metastases. However, radiotherapy is only made in second-line, because of itsgastrointestinal toxicity and its impact on bone growth (scoliosis) of the child.

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