What Are The First Symptoms Of Wilms Tumor & How Do You Test For It?
Wilms' tumor is a type of cancer affecting kidneys, it is very rare in nature and it majorly affects small children. Mainly it affects the children who are between three to four years old but after the age of five years, the problem becomes less common. This tumor affects one kidney but in some rare cases, it occurs in both the kidneys.
In the past few years, with the drastic advancement in the medical science diagnosis and treatment of this problem has become very convenient. With proper and timely treatment the problem of Wilms' tumor can be completed cured.(2)
What Are The First Symptoms Of Wilms Tumor?
Symptoms of Wilms’ tumor are not common for every child, instead; it varies from one patient to another. In fact, some children do not show any significant symptoms. However, some of the common symptoms that are experienced by almost every patient are as follows:
- Swelling in the abdominal area
- Severe Abdominal pain
- Abdominal mass that one can feel
Other common symptoms include:
- Blood trances in urine
- Loss of appetite
- High blood pressure(2)
How Do You Test For Wilms' Tumor?
In order to identify Wilms' tumor, doctors recommend the following tests for young children:
Physical Checkup – This is the first and the foremost step for diagnosing this kidney cancer. Doctors examine the patient physically, inquire about the symptoms and then suspect the possibility of cancer.
Blood And Urine Tests – After the physical examination is done, if doctors suspect Wilm’s tumor, then they prescribe both blood as well as urine tests. These tests help in identifying the functioning of both the kidneys and also reveals the problems (if any).
Imaging Tests – As the name suggests, in this test the image of the kidneys. This way doctors can identify the presence of tumor as well as its expected size. There are a series of tests performed for imaging tests, which includes ultrasound, CT i.e. computerized tomography scan or MRI i.e. magnetic resonance imaging.(1)
Wilms' Tumor Staging
Once the doctor confirms the presence of Wilms' tumor or kidney cancer, then the next step is to identify the stage of cancer. For this doctor may prescribe chest computerized tomography scan or x-ray to identify the extent to which cancer has spread in the kidney. It is only after the stage of the tumor is identified the mode of treatment is planned. This is so because the mode of treatment along with its effectiveness varies in different stages of kidney cancer. There are a total of five stages of Wilms' tumor, they are as follows:
Stage I – In this stage cancer develops only in one kidney. This is a very early stage when the tumor has just started to develop but it can be easily removed by surgery.
Stage II – In this stage, cancer starts to spread across the tissues and areas beyond the kidney. It starts affecting blood vessels, fat cells, etc. However, the possibility of removing the tumor with surgery is still very high.
Stage III – In this stage, cancer has already spread to the nearby lymph nodes and other areas within the abdomen. At this stage, the possibility of removing the tumor by surgery becomes fifty percent i.e. it may or may not be removed completely.
Stage IV- In this stage, cancer has spread to the organs around the kidneys such as liver, bones, lungs or even brain. This is an advanced stage where the patient is at high risk and the scope of treatment is reduced to a considerable extent.
Stage V- By the time patients comes to this stage, the cancer cells develop in both the kidneys. This makes the treatment process highly complicated.(1)
It is very important to identify the exact stage of cancer for performing an effective treatment on the patient. After the stage is identified doctors can plan a proper treatment approach.