The human body is built with many organs and systems that help humans to survive and live their daily life. One of the systems known as the urinary system plays a role in filtering blood and producing urine as the by-products. Kidneys are organs that are included in the urinary system beside the bladder, ureter and urethra. Kidneys not only involve the urinary system in such a way but also produce hormones that regulate the blood pressure and stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Since there are many functions of the kidney, people may take medicine supplements to help preserve its function. In this article, we will be learning about a disease affecting the kidney known as a Wilms tumour.
Wilms tumour is a cancer affecting the kidney. It is a type of childhood cancer that can spread to other parts of the body. Wilms tumour is also known as a nephroblastoma. 75 percent of Wilms tumour is typically found in children below the age of 5 years old and with the average age of children diagnosed at the age of 2 to 3 years old. Wilms tumour may occur in children up to the age of 10. This kind of tumour typically affects one side of the kidney but approximately 5 to 10 percent of children with Wilms tumour affected both kidneys. Exact cause of Wilms tumour is not known as it is considered as sporadic or by chance, it has been stipulated due to mutation in cells of the kidney during embryological development which happens even before birth. Genetic defects may increase risk of Wilms tumour.
Wilms tumour usually grows quite large before the patient is presented with any symptoms. This means that the child with Wilms tumour may appear healthy and play actively like any other healthy child would. One of the first signs of Wilms tumour is swelling or feeling hardness in the abdomen area. Such signs are often noticed by parents when bathing the child or dressing them. At times, the lump is large that parents can feel on either side or both sides of the abdomen. Other associated symptoms include fever, nausea, loss of appetite that can be seen from difficult to feed the child, breathing difficulties, constipation, high blood pressure and blood in the urine (haematuria). Since symptoms may be nonspecific as it can resemble other medical conditions, it is best to seek a doctor for further investigation and explanation.
Main treatments for Wilms tumour revolve around surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment plan depends on the stage and type of the Wilms tumour. Surgery is the first treatment for most cases of Wilms tumour. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy or combination of these may be needed to help shrink a very large tumour before surgery can be done. Radiotherapy may be recommended after surgery if the tumour has spread outside the kidney or when cancer cells are still left after the surgery. Enquiries regarding treatments should be addressed to the healthcare provider as different cases require different plan treatment.
The bigger question now is, is Wilms tumour curable? The answer is yes. Treatments available nowadays are able to cure most cases of Wilms tumour even though Wilms tumour is a rare disease and luckily, the cancer does not come back. Unfortunately, Wilms tumour is inevitably a type of cancer which means there is always a chance for it to become life-threatening and may actually come back even after being pronounced as cured. Survival rate for Wilms tumour depends on the stage and size of the tumour. It is important for parents to understand that Wilms tumour can be hard to deal with but treatment and support from healthcare providers can help both parents and children to go through this tough time.
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