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"Every patient teaches you something new and important."

Diana Mossop

Wilms Tumor

Information Regarding Wilms Tumor

What is Wilms’ tumor? Wilms’ tumor is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in certain parts of the kidney. The kidneys are a “matched” pair of organs found on either side of the backbone. The kidneys are shaped like a kidney bean. Inside each kidney are tiny tubes that filter and clean the blood, taking out unneeded products, and making urine. The urine made by the kidneys passes through a tube called a ureter into the bladder where it is held until it is passed from the body. Wilms’ tumor is curable in the majority of affected children. If your child has symptoms, your child’s doctor will usually feel your childs abdomen for lumps and run blood and urine tests. The doctor may order a special x-ray called an intravenous pyelogram. During this test, a dye containing iodine is injected into your childs bloodstream. This allows your childs doctor to see the kidney more clearly on the x-ray. Your childs doctor may also do an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to make a picture, or a special x-ray called a computed tomographic scan to look for lumps in the kidney. A special scan called magnetic resonance imaging, which uses magnetic waves to make a picture, may also be done. Chest and bone x-rays may also be taken. If abnormal tissue is found, your childs doctor will need to cut out a small piece and look at it under the microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. This is called a biopsy. In Wilms’ tumor, how the cancer cells look under a microscope (histology) is also very important. The cancer cells can be of favorable histology or anaplastic histology. Anaplastic means the cancer cells divide rapidly and look very different from normal cells. Anaplastic tumors may be focal (in one area) or diffuse (spread widely throughout an area).Your childs chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the stage of your childs cancer (whether it is just in the kidney only or has spread to other places in the body), how the cancer cells look under a microscope (histology), tumor size, and your childs age and general health. What Are Other Childhood Kidney Tumors? Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney, rhabdoid tumor of the kidney, and neuroepithelial tumor of the kidney are childhood kidney tumors unrelated to Wilms tumor. The treatment of these tumors is different from that of Wilms tumor but because of their location near the kidneys, they have been treated on clinical trials developed by the National Wilms Tumor Study Group.

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