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Wilm’s Tumor Overview, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Wilm’s tumor is also called Nephroblastoma.  This disease is a rare type of kidney cancer that affects the children. In this the tumor is formed on one or both the kidneys.

Children are considered to be at high risk for developing the wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma due to certain genetic conditions and birth defects.

For such children regular screening tests need to be performed at least every three months.

Wilm’s Tumor Causes

The main cause behind the occurrence of the Wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma as studied is the change in the genes as a result of mutations. Some cases of wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma show defects in one of two genes on chromosome 11.

They are called Wilm’s tumor 1 and Wilm’s tumor 2 (WT1 and WT2). The former one is the most dangerous and proves to be critical to the development of the genitals and urinary system. Other chromosomal mutations are also found to cause the wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma.

Wilm’s Tumor Symptoms

The wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma may be painless in the early stage and may not be detected unless it grows into a large tumor. The other most common symptom may be a mass felt in the child's abdomen. The child may or may not have the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Urine with blood
  • Abdominal or Stomach pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • General discomfort (malaise)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Constipation

Wilm’s Tumor Treatment

The standard treatment methods for Wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma are surgery and chemotherapy. The need for radiation therapy may be detected by the stage of the tumor and appearance of the cancer cells under a microscope.

Surgery

The surgery performed to remove the kidney tissue is called nephrectomy. The various types of nephrectomy include simple nephrectomy in which the entire kidney is removed.

The second type of the partial nephrectomy in which only the tumor and part of the kidney tissue surrounding are removed and the radical nephrectomy in which the entire kidney and surrounding tissues are removed. Neighboring lymph nodes also may be removed.

Chemotherapy

The chemotherapy method of treating the wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma includes the administration of the drugs or medications through the veins, muscles or oral. This method is systemic because the drugs enter the bloodstream and carried to the entire body destroying the cancer cells.

As a result, these medications can have the side effects of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss and low white blood cell counts.

If high-dose chemotherapy is opted than the child’s marrow be removed in advance and frozen so that less normal cells are damaged and later the marrow will be returned intravenously by a procedure called autologous bone marrow reinfusion.

Radiation therapy

Generally the Radiation therapy is started after few days of surgery. The areas which need to be treated by radiation are been marked the rest areas are shielded. This method of wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma treatment uses X-rays or other sources of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.

The possible side effects after the radiation therapy for wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma are the nausea, fatigue and skin irritation. Diarrhea may also occur after radiation therapy treatment to the abdomen for wilm’s tumor or nephroblastoma patient. To decrease this affect the doctor may suggests some medications for relief.

 

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