Wilms tumors are rare but malignant forms of kidneys tumors found mainly in children. These tumors mainly take place in children belonging to 3 years or 4 years of age and rarely among children of or exceeding 6 years. About 3/4th of cases take place in healthy children and only one-quarter of them have relations to related developmental issues.
What Leads To Wilms Tumor?
Faulty Kidney Cells Development. Until now, experts have failed to identify the exact reason that leads to Wilms tumor. However, according to their detailed analysis, Wilms tumors mainly commence with faulty development of kidney cells in an unborn child. The abnormal cells thus multiply in primitive condition to form a tumor and it is detectable when the child becomes 3 or 4 years old.
Family History. Wilms tumors have their roots or stem from genetic anomalies passed on to the kids from their parents. However, the tumor/cancer because of family history is rare, as, in the only 2 percent of total Wilms tumor cases, a close had or has cancer associated with Wilms tumor.
Genetic Factors. Genes responsible to control the growth of cells change or mutate to allow the cell growth and cell division in an uncontrolled manner. Especially, researchers have identified WT1 and WT2 as two primary genes to cause Wilms Tumor. Even in some cases, mutations may take place in various other chromosomes.(1)
A majority of Wilms tumor takes place because of genetic mutations affecting the growth of cells in the kidney and such changes often begin after the childbirth.
Can Wilms Tumor Be Cured?
Treatment to cure Wilms tumor often starts with surgery to remove a specific part or each of the affected kidney. Moreover, doctors perform surgery for confirming the diagnosis i.e. for removing the tissue at the time of surgery to determine the cancerous tumor and the specific type of cancer present in the tumor. Common surgical methods to cure Wilms tumor include-
Partial Nephrectomy. In the case of partial nephrectomy, doctors remove the tumor and a specific part of the surrounding kidney tissue. Partial nephrectomy is recommendable when cancer remains very small or the child has a single functioning kidney.(2)
Radical Nephrectomy. In the case of a radical nephrectomy, doctors remove the patient’s kidney and its surrounding tissues, along with a specific part of his/her ureter and adrenal gland. In addition, depending on the cancer growth or its spread, doctors may remove the surrounding lymph nodes. The remaining part of the kidney thus increases its capacity infiltration of the blood.
Removal Of All Or Specific Part Of Kidneys. If cancer due to Wilms tumor affects both kidneys of a patient, the surgeon removes cancer to a large extent from both of the kidneys. However, in some small numbers of patients, this indicates the removal of both kidneys and hence, the patient requires kidney transplantation or dialysis.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy treatment involves the use of various powerful drugs for killing cancer cells present in or nearby the affected kidney/kidneys. Chemotherapy to cure Wilms tumor involves injecting a combination of drugs via a vein to work together for the killing of cancer cells.
Radiation Therapy. Radiation therapy treatment involves the use of various high-energy beams for killing the cancer cells. The therapy is especially useful post surgery for killing any cancer cells, which fail to remove at the time of surgery. Even it acts as an excellent option to control cancer, which spreads to other parts of the patient’s body.(2)