Wilms tumor (also called Wilms’ tumor or nephroblastoma) is a rare kidney cancer that typically affects the newborns and primarily children at a very young age. Fortunately, most kids affected with this condition survive the disease and continue to live their normal lifespan.
When children experience abdominal mass or have blood in the urine accompanied by other few symptoms like nausea, constipation, shortness of breath and high blood pressure, you should seek immediate doctor attention.
Can Wilms Tumor Be Diagnosed Through Lab Tests?
Although Wilms tumor cannot be diagnosed through lab tests, yet these tests can indicate whether the kidney functions are normal. At the same time, they can uncover other kidney complexities and also the low blood count. However, imaging tests can detect the presence of this tumor and also determine how far it has spread. Basically, the child treatment and prognosis depends on the stage of cancer.
For Wilms tumor, there are five stages which are often indicated through roman numerals I through V.
Stage 1-During this stage, the tumor is affected in one side of the kidney. The tumor in this stage can be completely cured through surgery. Here, the infection would have not spread to other layers of the kidney and blood vessels and patients get cured completely.
Stage 2- The tumor would have spread beyond the kidney and to the blood vessels in this stage but still this stage is curable. Cancer affected area is completely removed through surgery with no cancer left behind.
Stage 3- Here in this stage, cancer is found in many parts around the kidney such as the blood vessels or throughout the abdomen and it is not possible to remove completely through surgery. Cancer may have spread before or during the surgery. Most of the Wilms tumor is cured by stage 2. Medical research states that about 20 to 25 percent of the infected is in stage 3.
Stage 4- This is a more in the terminal stage where cancer has spread through the blood to organs away from the kidney like the lungs, liver, brain, and bones and even to the lymph nodes. This stage is often referred to as distant metastasis. Very few patients are noticed with stage 4 Wilms tumor.
Stage 5- A bilateral condition in which the tumor has spread to both the kidneys at the same time. However, the stages in each kidney may vary and complications likewise.1. 2.
What Are The Types Of Treatment?
There are different types of treatment used for treating this condition. Since this is a rare type of cancer, it is always a challenging situation for the doctors to plan the treatment. However, there are two major approaches generally followed to treat this condition.
They are according to the National Wilms tumor study or the children’s oncology method and International Society of Pediatric Oncology. Basically, in North American countries, the former principal is followed; nevertheless, the Europeans follow the latter.
One of the primary difference between the two principals is, the North American protocol recommends for removal or biopsy of the tumor in their initial stages but the European methods recommend for chemotherapy based on the imaging results.3
The patients may be treated either with one or a combination of these methods
Surgery- This is the leading treatment often used to treat Wilms tumor. Surgery is performed along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy– This method uses the anti-cancerous medications to completely destroy the cancerous cells.
Radiation Therapy- When the tumor is in the most advanced stages, this method is often used. It uses high-energy cells to destroy cancer cells.
Though the radiation and chemotherapy are effective in treating the Wilms tumor, it is equally accompanied by plenty of side effects.4
Your treatment does not end with therapies and medications but follow-up care and aftercare is more crucial to completely come out of this condition.