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Wilms Tumour

  • What is Wilms' Tumour?

    Wilms' tumour is also known as nephroblastoma, as it arises in the kidney. It can occur in children of all ages, but most are under five years of age. The tumour usually develops in only one kidney. Rarely it occurs in both kidneys.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Many children with Wilms' tumour have no symptoms at all. A lump may be noticed in the child's abdomen, or the child may complain of abdominal pain, or may pass some blood in hisher urine.


    An ultrasound examination and a CT scan of the abdomen will be done to show the position of the tumour in the abdomen. A CT scan of the chest will also be done to find out if the cancer has spread. Other tests may be necessary, including blood tests to check liver and kidney function. (Refer to section on tests and procedures)


    Treatment may be with immediate surgery to remove the kidney and the tumour. It is perfectly possible to live with only one kidney. Alternatively, chemotherapy may be given first to shrink the tumour so that the operation is easier. At the operation the surgeon will examine the whole abdomen and will take specimens of lymph glands, to determine if they are affected. Treatment is dependent on the extent of the tumour. Chemotherapy may be given for up to one year at regular intervals. Radiotherapy may also be needed.

    Follow up care

    Most children recover very quickly from the operation. Follow up care involves regular clinical examinations, abdominal ultrasound's and chest x-rays. After the first few years the focus of follow up changes to monitoring growth and development and other possible later side effects of treatment.