Bengaluru: Wilms tumor or Nephroblastoma, is a rare type of kidney cancer which typically affects children and is rare among adults. It is more common in children aged between 4 months to 4 years but it can also occur in children aged between 3 to 4 months up to 8 to 9 years.
Nephroblastoma, an abdominal and kidney tumour is the most dangerous after the brain. But, there is a lack of awareness about it even among most of the pediatricians.
The main cause of this cancer is due to ‘Genetic Mutation’ which can be from either of the parent side. It is also more common in various genetic syndromes which can affect the child. Sometimes, the abnormal cells in the baby multiply in its early state and become a tumor which is usually detectable at the age of 3 to 4 years. In India, it affects 120 children out of 1 million a year, where as it is seen in almost 50 to 60 % of children which puts them at a higher risk.
A person might experience no symptoms during its early stages. However, a baby cannot verbalize or express it. A mother can find a hard mass around the baby’s stomach and swelling near its abdomen and lower chest regions. Other symptoms also include blood in urine/abnormal urine, poor appetite, constipation, vomiting, fever and unexplained weight loss.
Dr Neema Bhat Pediatric Oncologist, BGS hospital said, “It is very important for the parents to examine the baby while giving a bath and notice their regular activity in terms of their appetite, energy levels etc. If the parents feel something is irregular they have to take the baby immediately to a physician and make sure treatment is given at the right time. If there is any tumor or mass found near the abdomen, the baby has to be taken to an oncologist immediately. There should be no delay in starting the treatment because the success rate at which it can be cured is higher when it’s picked up in early stages.”
The treatment for Wilms tumor depends on when a baby is picked up. The treatment is suggested with the combination of surgery as well as chemotherapy. If it is meta static at the time of picking up the baby then the therapy is started, the tumor is removed and a ‘radiation therapy’ (treatment for cancer, thyroid disease, blood disorders and non-cancerous growth) will be suggested.