Wilms cancer is the most common type of malignant growth found in children, also known as nephroblastoma. The medical name was derived from the last name of a German pathologist and surgeon, who in 1899 published his work in the light of the discovery of a particular type of cancer developed from only premature renal cells of children between the ages of 3 and 6. In which most cases, only one kidney will be affected during the states of development of renal cancer.
While technologically advanced imaging studies are better able to diagnose early malignancies, the most common symptoms of renal cancer (i.e. malaise, fever, constipation, blood in urine, abdominal mass or pain), are almost non-present in children until a more advanced stage. The child’s parents or doctor may be able to feel a small lump in the areas of the kidneys and then maybe decide to extend the evaluation by including radiologic imaging exams such as a CT or MRI to the child’s routine examination.
Once the stage of cancer is diagnosed according to the child’s overall health, age, tumor size and location, it is necessary to rule out any metastasis of the disease. In such cases, a combination of surgery (also known as nephrectomy) along with radiotherapy/chemotherapy might be prescribed to eradicate any remaining cells in other organs which are still too immature to be detected. Even though the founding markers for this disease are still unascertained, some doctors believe this disease is sometimes genetically inherited by both parents and may start developing during embryonic stages of development. It is also known that Wilms cancer may be also connected and derived from rare childhood syndromes such as: Denys-Drash syndrome, Beckwith-Wiedmann syndrome and if suspected, the child is recommended to do a full pathologic evaluation.
There are many suggestions and professional advice on coping with Wilms cancer and your child. Since the examinations are time consuming and very uncomfortable for the child, it is recommended to schedule daily playtime for your child during the treatment stages of the disease, by monitoring the energy levels the child spends on a daily basis. Social workers and recreational therapists can help make healing easier for the parent while elevating the child’s immunologic markers with recreational time, as many scientists discovered in recent medical studies the healing effects of playtime to the child’s immune system. A number of support groups, governmental as well as non-profit agencies give great support for the family of the effected child and should be sought out if necessary.