The month of March is dedicated to Kidney Cancer Awareness. It’s not only for adult forms of kidney cancer, it’s also for cancers found in children like Wilms Tumors. Wilms Tumors is actually the most common type of childhood kidney cancer. While Wilms Tumors can develop regardless of a person’s age, most cases are 3 to 10 years old.
Due to children growing and developing, a tumor can grow unnoticed. If left untreated, it can develop into a malignant tumor and spread to other parts of the body. In a Wilms Tumors diagnosis, this occurs in 1 out of 4 children. Thankfully due to the hard work and efforts of cancer researchers, survival rate for Wilms Tumor has made significant improvements. According to American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), The 5-year survival rate for children with a Wilms Tumor is 93%! Keep in mind, this depends on various factors like the cancer’s stage during diagnosis and if it has become malignant.
Another key point about childhood Wilms Tumor statistics is this type of cancer has the potential to return. The risk can range from 15% and 50%, however it typically happens within the first 2 years after treatment.
Wilms Tumor is Located in What Organ?
It originates from the kidneys but if left untreated, it can spread to other organs such as the lungs or brain. The purpose of the kidneys is to remove impurities, excess minerals/salts, and extra water by filtering blood. During the development stage of kidneys, cells that form the glomeruli and nephrons grow and form to fit their functions. However, there are cases where the immature cells cluster together without developing into functioning kidney cells. As the child develops, if the cluster becomes a larger mass which is called Wilms Tumor, also called Nephroblastoma.
Wilms Tumor Symptoms
Signs of cancer in children are incredibly difficult to recognize until they become more extreme. Furthermore, not all children who are affected display the same symptoms. In fact, most children feel and appear healthy without any pain. Yet others may have a lump or hard mass on their belly or complain of abdominal pain. Other common symptoms that should put parents on the alert include:
- rapid change to a larger diaper size
- Blood in the urine
- High blood pressure
- A fever that does not go away
More often than not, cancer-like symptoms are actually something different. However, if your child has these symptoms, contact their doctor for a checkup. After checking your child’s health, the doctors will determine if they need to run cancer diagnosis tests.
Wilms Tumor Histology
Histology refers to the study of the tissue structure at a microscopic level. So when it comes to tumor histology, this refers to the description of abnormal cells and tissues. It can also determine the possible growth and spreading of the tumor. There are two different outcomes of histologies: favorable or anaplastic. Tumor growth with favorable histologies, the absence of anaplastic type cells, respond better to treatments. Anaplastic cells are abnormal cells that don’t resemble or function like healthy cells. These divide rapidly and generally require more aggressive forms of treatments. The Anaplastic Wilms Tumor type isn’t very common, with the risk being around 10%.
Wilms Tumor Treatments
Depending on certain factors concerning the tumor, there are typically three treatment options: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. According to ASCO, factors that determine the best results for the child include:
- The type, stage, and histology of the tumor
- Possible side effects
- The child and family’s preferences
- The child’s overall health
If you have any questions at any stage of the treatment, talk with your child’s cancer team! Always learn about what each treatment’s expected goals, potential changes, and possible results could be. As family plays an extremely important role during a child’s cancer treatment, always have thorough conversations with your child’s doctors. From preferences and concerns to simply support and needing someone to talk to.
Always be aware of any potential or developing side effects of cancer treatments and discuss them with the doctors. Often there are ways to help negate or manage the side effects to help your child feel better. Side effects can develop in a wide range of aspects such as physical, emotional, & social. They don’t have to be considered serious, so always mention any new developments or changes!
Follow Up Cancer Care
After the tumor is removed and treatments have ended, your child’s cancer battle still continues. As there is potential for the cancer to come back, there will still be additional check ups. Throughout the treatment process, be sure to receive and carefully store personal records of your child’s medical information. Don’t rely on the hospital to keep the record! As the child grows into an adult, this information is critical for preventing or treating other health conditions.
Wonderful Additions to Sydni Smiles
Our amazing Facebook group dedicated to making handicrafts has really taken off! We are now selling our handcrafted items at the Super Nova Creations in Baxter! Every Tuesday is Sydni Smiles Day with a promotion for a free Sydni Smiles bracelet with a $25+ purchase. Come check out this wonderful store and browse through Sydni Smiles Merchandise and other unique items we’ve made!