How is Wilms Tumor Treated?

Wilms tumor is typically treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, as determined by a multidisciplinary team of specialists. This team may include pediatric oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and pediatric surgeons, who collaborate to develop a customized treatment plan. The plan is based on the child's age, overall health, and the stage and histology of the Wilms tumor. This approach ensures comprehensive care, aimed at maximizing the success of the treatment while minimizing side effects.

Surgery is often the initial step in treating Wilms tumor, with the primary goal of removing as much of the tumor as possible. This is typically achieved through a procedure called nephrectomy, which involves removing the affected kidney. There are two main types of nephrectomies: radical nephrectomy and partial nephrectomy. A radical nephrectomy entails removing the entire kidney, surrounding fatty tissue, the adjacent adrenal gland, and possibly nearby lymph nodes to check for cancer spread. In contrast, a partial nephrectomy, involving the removal of only part of the kidney, is considered when the other kidney is damaged or removed, or if there is a heightened risk of tumor development in the other kidney.

Chemotherapy, involving drugs to destroy cancer cells, is generally used both before surgery to shrink the tumor and after surgery to target any remaining cancer cells that may have spread. The choice of drugs, their administration frequency, and the treatment duration are tailored according to the tumor’s stage and histology.

Radiation therapy, which employs high-energy x-rays or other radiation types to kill cancer cells, can also be used before and after surgery. However, its use in treating Wilms tumor has decreased in recent years due to the potential long-term side effects, especially in very young children.

Overall, the treatment of Wilms tumor often involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, with radiation therapy employed less frequently. The prognosis for Wilms tumor is generally positive, particularly when diagnosed early. Treatment methods continue to evolve, driven by ongoing research and clinical trials aimed at enhancing survival rates and reducing treatment-related side effects.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended solely for informational purposes. It is not meant to serve as medical advice. For professional medical guidance, please consult your doctor.

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