The month of March is Kidney Cancer Awareness Month. Wilms tumor is a form of kidney cancer and the most common type of kidney cancer in children. Some genetic factors can make a child more likely to develop Wilms tumor, including:
- a family history or personal history of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (a condition associated with larger-than-normal internal organs)
- WAGR (marked by defects of the iris, kidneys, urinary tract, or genitalia)
- Denys-Drash syndrome (a defect of the genitalia)
Most children, however do not show any signs of having cancer and often a parent may discover a firm smooth lump in the child’s abdomen. Children with risk factors should have regular ultrasound screenings.
Treating Wilms tumor can vary from low doses of medicine to surgery and chemotherapy and sometimes may require radiation therapy based on severity. This disease is very treatable and typically does not come back. If a child is cancer-free for at least 2 years after treatment, doctors will be very hopeful for full recover.
Children’s Cancer Partners currently works with 47 children in the Carolinas who have been diagnosed with Wilms tumor. We are privileged to interact with these superheroes and gain inspiration from their strength.
Awareness months or days are the only way a cause can gain any momentum. As we go through this month, we invite you to join us in any way you can through volunteering, sending notes to our superheroes, donations or even sharing this blog. The “cure is for everyone” and so we must work together to get to that goal.