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types of cancer

Wilms’ Tumor

Overview

Wilms’ tumor, a rare kidney cancer condition also known as nephroblastoma, is the most common cancer of the kidneys found in children. Wilms’ tumor most often affects children ages 3 to 4 and becomes much less common after age 5 affecting just one kidney, but at times can also be found in both kidneys at the same time. Advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of Wilms’ tumor have progressed and with appropriate treatment techniques.

Symptoms

Though the symptoms for Wilms’ tumor vary widely , however few of the common Signs and symptoms of Wilms’ tumor are:

  • An abdominal mass you can feel
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Other more general symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea or vomiting or both
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Causes

    In most of the cases, heredity may play a role in Wilms’ tumor, though this is rare. Cancer cells starts multiplying with increasing errors in their DNA. The errors allow the cells to grow and multiply nonstop with a longer life compared to other cells. The accumulating cells results into a tumor. In Wilms’ tumor, this process occurs mostly in the kidney cells. In rarest of the cases, the errors in DNA that lead to Wilms’ tumor are passed on genetically, from parents to children. While in most other cases, there is no known connection between parents and children that may lead to cancer.

    Diagnosis

    Few of the diagnostic techniques are conducted to detect this tumor are:

  • CBC
  • Chemistry profile – This includes kidney function tests and routine measurements of electrolytes and calcium
  • Urinalysis
  • Coagulation studies
  • Cytogenetics studies, including 1p and 16q deletion
  • Imaging studies conducted are:
  • Renal ultrasonography (often the initial study)
  • Four-field chest radiography (to detect lung metastases)
  • Abdominal and chest CT
  • Abdominal MRI
  • Treatment

    The major form of treatment undertaken for this type of tumours includes surgery, chemotherapyand radiation therapy. Since this is commonly found in children, there is a permutation of treatment that follows. Surgery is usually the first treatment that is applied to remove the tumor. In complicated cases of the tumor where in the cancer might have spread into the blood vessels or both kidneys either chemotherapy or radiation therapy (or both) might be used to try to shrink the tumor before surgery. The precise drugs and treatment course might vary from case to case depending on the condition of complication.

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