Approximately 500 children, mostly between 2 and 4 years of age, are diagnosed with Wilms' tumor each year in the United States. Most children are successfully treated, usually by partial or full surgical removal of the tumor (depending its size and location). Wilms’ tumor most often starts in the kidneys but, in rare cases, can occur in other parts of the body. It is the most common type of kidney cancer. These tumors can be very large and may spread to other body tissues, most often the lungs.
While Wilms’ tumor can occur at any age between infancy and age 15, it is usually detected by the time a child is 3. Typically, only one kidney is affected, but nearly 5 percent of children with Wilms’ tumor have tumors in both kidneys.
Children with Wilms’ tumor are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Kidney Tumor Program within our Solid Tumor Center.
The symptoms of Wilms’ tumor may resemble other, more common conditions or medical problems. The most common symptoms are:
In addition to a complete physical examination, doctors often recommend a number of different tests to diagnose Wilms’ tumor, including:
After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.
A number of treatments are recommended for Wilms’ tumor, including: