We have made huge strides in caring for children with Wilms’ tumor. Today, thanks to modern treatments, nine out of ten children with Wilms’ tumor are cured.
Surgery is the most common treatment but if your child’s tumor is either too large or too close to vital organs and blood vessels for surgery, our Wilms’ tumor experts may use chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to shrink the tumor to a size that can be more safely removed.
Surgery is usually the main treatment for Wilms’ tumor. Our doctors do one of three different procedures, depending on your child’s tumor and diagnosed stage:
A radical nephrectomy involves removing the entire kidney and the tissue around it, including the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. Doctors also take out the adrenal gland, surrounding fatty tissues, and nearby lymph nodes. The remaining kidney is left intact.
A simple nephrectomy involves removing only the kidney, without taking out the nearby tissue.
A partial nephectomy involves removing just part of the kidney along with the tumor. Children who have tumors in both kidneys may have this surgery. It is rarely used.
For stage I tumors and stage II tumors with normal-looking cells, surgery and chemotherapy are often enough to cure Wilms’ tumor. In some cases, patients may have chemotherapy before surgery. For children whose tumors return after treatment, we can give high-dose chemotherapy along with blood transfusion or marrow transplantation.
For more advanced stages of Wilms’ tumor, such as stage II tumors with abnormal-looking cells, stage III tumors, stage IV tumors, and tumors that come back after treatment, we often combine chemotherapy and surgery with radiation therapy.
Our team is very skilled in dealing with complicated tumors that need radiation therapy during surgery.
Our experienced team of doctors, nurses, and support staff has specialized knowledge in treating challenging cases, including tumors that doctors from other hospitals say are inoperable, and tumors that have ruptured. We work closely with the international Children’s Oncology Group in helping Wilms’ tumor patients.