Wilms tumor is a very rare type of cancer that affects the kidneys. However, among the cancers seen in children, Wilms tumor is the most common of them all. It usually affects the children of age 3 to 4 years. The chance of occurrence reduces once the child turns 5 years of age.(1)
How Common Is Wilms Tumour Or Is It A Rare Disease?
Here are some facts and figures about how common Wilms tumor is-
- Wilms tumor is the fourth commonest type of cancer in children
- It is the commonest of all kidney cancers seen in children
- In the united states, about 1 in every 10,000 children are affected by Wilms tumor
- About 500 to 600 new cases of Wilms tumor are diagnosed every year in the US
- African Americans are more prone to developing Wilms tumor as compared to the Caucasians
- The chances of development of Wilms tumor are even lower in Asians
- Those children whose one kidney is affected with Wilms tumor usually get diagnosed at an age of 2 years.
- Those children who get their both kidneys affected are usually diagnosed at the age of 2 years
- Very rarely, Wilms tumor can be seen in older kids and adults
Gender wise, males and females are equally seen to be affected by Wilms tumor. However, the incidence may be slightly higher in females and the diagnosis or presentation may be earlier in males as compared to females(2)
What Causes Wilms Tumour?
The exact reason for Wilms tumor is not known. Some experts believe that heredity may play a role in the development of Wilms tumor.
- When there are errors in the DNA, it results in cancer
- Due to these errors or mistakes, the cells grow and multiply beyond control
- These abnormal cells would keep growing while killing the other healthy cells
- These cells start getting collected and result in a tumor.
- Wilms tumor exhibits this process of uncontrolled, unhealthy cell growth in the kidneys
These mistakes may be passed on from a parent to a child in rare conditions. However, in many conditions, there might not be a known association between parents and children when it comes to cancer
Some factors may increase your chances of getting a Wilms tumor. These may include-
- The children who come from an African American race have a bit higher chance of developing Wilms tumor than those who come from other races
- Asian-American children run a lower chance of getting this condition
- If the child has someone in the family with Wilms tumor, then the chances of getting Wilms tumor increase for that child
If children have abnormalities or syndromes at birth, they may have an increased risk of getting a Wilms tumor. These syndromes and conditions include-
- in this condition, the iris or the portion of the eye that is colored is formed incompletely or is totally absent
- In this condition, one side or a part of the body is significantly larger than the other side or parts
- Wilms tumor is a part of this syndrome, which also includes other conditions like aniridia, genital and urinary system problems, intellectual disabilities, etc.
Wilms tumor is a part of this syndrome, which also includes other conditions like kidney diseases, male pseudohermaphroditism, a condition in which a boy has testicles when he is born but exhibits female characteristics
- Those children affected with the syndrome are noticeably larger than other kids.
- There may be other conditions like a large tongue, enlarged internal organs, ear problems, etc.
Wilms tumor is a very rare kind of cancer. However, it is also one of the commonest kidney cancers occurring in children. Usually, kids up to the age of 5 are affected by Wilms tumor. Older children and adults are very unlikely to get this cancer.
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