Wilms tumor is an extremely rare kind of cancer, that is seen most commonly in children up to the age of 5 years. The chances of occurrence in older kids and adults are very slim. It is one of the commonest kidney cancers in children.

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Can Adults Get Wilms Tumour?

Can Adults Get Wilms Tumour?

Adults may get Wilms tumor. However, the chances are extremely rare. Also, preoperative diagnosis may be quite difficult in adults. A confirmed diagnosis can only be made upon biopsy when the tumor is extradited through surgery. Also, it is often diagnosed at advanced stages in adults as compared to children. Hence, the prognosis in adults is poorer as compared to that in children.(1)

In adults, it is difficult to differentiate between renal cell carcinoma and Wilms tumor only on the basis of radiological findings. The diagnosis is often unexpected in adults and is usually established when nephrectomy-partial or complete- is done when the condition is to be presumed as renal cell carcinoma and biopsy is done thereafter

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What Are The Symptoms Of Wilms Tumour In Adults?

What Are The Symptoms Of Wilms Tumour In Adults?

The symptoms of Wilms tumor in adults are significantly different than symptoms in children. Let us have a look at symptoms of Wilms tumor in kids as well as adults -

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Signs and symptoms of Wilms tumor in kids vary to a great extent. Some kids do not present with any signs and symptoms at all, while others present with one or more of these symptoms-

  • An abdominal lump or mass that can be felt and is usually painless
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Pain in the abdomen may be present in some(3)

There may be other symptoms like-

Symptoms of Wilms tumor in adults-

In adults, the symptoms are quite different. There is-

  • Abdominal pain
  • Haematuria(2)
  • Other symptoms may be similar to childhood Wilms tumor.
  • The confirmed diagnosis is usually established upon performing nephrectomy and sending the material for biopsy

Similar to other cancers, metastasis or spread to other organs is a prime complication of Wilms tumor. If this happens, there may be a need to carry out the extensive and aggressive treatment. Also, treatment methods like chemotherapy and radiation therapy have their own sets of side effects. These may differ from person to person; however, some common ones include-

  • Loss of hair
  • Loss of appetite or anorexia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loose motions or diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Mouth ulcers or sore mouth
  • Bruising
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Bladder problems
  • Skin changes
  • Nail changes
  • Lowered immunity
  • Increased chances of getting various infections(4)

Also, there may be an uncontrolled high blood pressure which may damage the kidneys even further(4)

Wilms tumor is a condition that cannot be prevented. In case, your child has any of the risk factors associated with Wilms tumor, like having any syndromes or has a history of someone in the family having Wilms tumor, it is possible that your doctor may advise you to get his or her kidneys checked periodically, just to ensure that they are functioning well and there is no onset of Wilms tumor. The tests may not help in preventing Wilms tumor, but they will surely help in a better success at treatment if diagnosed at an early stage.(3)

Conclusion

Wilms tumor is cancer most commonly seen in small children. Children up to the age of 5 years are more likely to be affected by this condition. Chances of occurrence are very slim in older children. Adults, too, may get Wilms tumor. However, the chances are extremely slim for them as well. The symptoms of Wilms tumor in adults are very different from those seen in small children

References:  

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: July 9, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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