Ryan Bendoff was having a blast in the pool at the summer day camp near his Northbrook, Ill., home. But after another swimmer accidentally kicked him in the stomach, the six-year old boy's complaints about abdominal pain worried his counselors. Ryan's mother, Tammy, picked up her young son and rushed him to a local emergency room.
With one of the highest cure rates among all childhood cancers, Wilms tumor is known as a "success story" in pediatric oncology.
Tammy describes the next few hours and days in July 2011 as a blur. "The ER doctors said there was a tumor in Ryan's right kidney the size of a grapefruit," she recalled, "and that a helicopter from the University of Chicago Medicine was already on its way."
Just hours later, Tammy and her husband, Mike, met with University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital hematologist/oncologist Susan Cohn, MD. They soon learned that the growth in their son's kidney was a Wilms tumor. A common pediatric cancer and the most prevalent type of kidney cancer, Wilms tumors are usually asymptomatic.
"In a typical case, a mother may feel a hard lump in her young child's belly while giving him or her a bath and brings the child to a doctor," Cohn said. "The kick to Ryan's stomach ruptured the tumor, causing bleeding and pain." Tammy added, "That kick turned out to be a blessing."
The good news for the Bendoff family: With one of the highest cure rates among all childhood cancers, Wilms tumor is known as a "success story" in pediatric oncology.