Wilms Tumor Symptoms – Kidney Cancer In Children
Kidney cancer in children is called wilms’ tumor and is the most common kidney cancer found in children. The disease got its name from Max Wilms, a German doctor. In 1899, Dr. Wilms wrote a medical article, believed to be the first one written on this childhood kidney cancer.
While we know the wilms tumor symptoms, but it is not exactly known for sure what causes this cancer, various different birth defects figure into a child developing wilms’ tumor, and in rare cases there appears to be a genetic link, as someone else in the family has the same type of tumor. This childhood cancer usually strikes children at an early age, around three to five years old.
As a baby develops in the womb, the kidneys are formed and at birth, some of the cells in the kidneys are not divided into the different types of cells that make up a mature kidney. This process usually doesn’t happen until the child is three or four years old, at which time these immature cells can grow uncontrollably and form a mass or a tumor. Wilms’ tumors are more commonly found in one kidney, but in rare cases they can be found in both.
Wilms Tumor Symptoms
Wilms tumor symptoms in children are swelling and pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting, constipation, appetite loss, fever and abnormal color of urine or blood in urine. It may be possible to feel the tumor in the child’s abdomen area, but not always, as the tumor could be growing on the back of the kidneys.
It is important to not allow a flu-like sickness to go on for several days, as this could be symptoms of kidney cancer, instead. These wilms tumor symptoms are sometimes even misdiagnosed, as the physician will call it a stomach flu.
Since you know your child best, you are in the position of knowing if they are not acting right, so seek medical assistance immediately, if they are experiencing any of the wilms tumor symptoms.
The physician should examine the abdominal area of the child and do a blood and urine test. These tests are fairly accurate in evaluating whether wilms’ tumor is present. Early detection of this tumor is critical, as wilms’ tumor grows fast and can spread to other parts of the body.
Wilms Tumor Treatment
Wilms tumor treatment depends on what stage the cancer is in. Stage I is preferable, as this is when the tumor is still confined to the kidney and has not spread. Most wilms’ tumors are detected before they reach stage II, which is when the tumor is enlarged and has spread.
Depending on the amount of anaplasia in the cells determines treatment and outcome. A low concentration of anaplasia in the cells suggest a favorable result and almost all wilms’ tumor treatment fall into this category. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are treatments used for this childhood kidney cancer.
There are three different types of surgery: removing the cancer and part of the kidney, removing the whole kidney or removing the whole kidney and tissues around it. Chemotherapy is a procedure where drugs are given that enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body to kill cancer cells. Radiation is a use of x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
As far as side effects from the wilms tumor treatment, female children who suffered this kidney cancer and received radiation to treat the cancer, later in life if they become pregnant, they would face an increased risk of complications. However, this does not mean they should avoid pregnancy, but there is a chance their baby could be born premature or be born with certain birth defects.
Their doctor needs to monitor them closely to pay special attention to the fact they received doses of radiation as a child. At the same time, male children who received radiation treatment to cure their kidney cancer, their spouses do not experience any increased complications with their pregnancies.
Children have been found to respond better to chemotherapy than adults and, also, can withstand the effects of this treatment better. However, children who survive this kidney cancer may suffer long-term side effects from chemotherapy, so they need special monitoring the rest of their lives