Wilms Tumor (Nephroblastoma)
The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital provides comprehensive care for children with Wilms tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, also known as nephroblastoma. Our pediatric cancer team offers state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services.
As active members of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), our physicians network with more than 250 medical centers worldwide. We participate in clinical trials of the newest, most promising treatments for all childhood cancers, including Wilms tumor.
Comer Children’s offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for Wilms tumor. As one of the busiest pediatric cancer programs in the Midwest, we have the expertise and resources to care for children with any type of Wilms tumor.
The most important initial test in diagnosing Wilms tumor is a CT scan. The scan reveals the location of the tumor in one or both kidneys and shows the extent of the disease. This begins the staging process to determine if the tumor has spread to other parts of the abdomen or to the lungs.
In most cases, the affected kidney must be removed. A pathologist examines the kidney tissue microscopically to verify the diagnosis and to determine the aggressiveness and invasiveness of the tumor.
In order to decide the course of treatment, each patient is assigned a stage based on the results of the CT scan, the pathology and other tests. Wilms tumor is always treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy and, in some cases, radiation therapy.
Some children will be eligible to participate in COG clinical trials. These treatment protocols are part of a nationwide, National Cancer Institute-sponsored effort to evaluate and monitor newer therapies.
In cases where there is a suspicion of a genetic link, Wilms tumor patients may be referred to the University of Chicago Pediatric Familial Cancer Clinic. This highly specialized clinic is dedicated to helping children and their families with inherited cancers.
Children facing cancer often have ongoing medical, emotional, social, and developmental needs. Our doctors, nurses, social workers, and child life specialists recognize these issues and can provide your family with the resources and tools to keep you informed, find assistance, and help you cope.
Long Term Follow-Up
While the cure rate for Wilms tumor is more than 90 percent, these patients may face other health issues as they grow older. The University of Chicago Childhood Cancer Survivors Center is an integrated program aimed at the prevention and treatment of long-term issues associated with cancer therapy.
Pediatric oncologists, pediatric surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and nurse practitioners who specialize in oncology all play key roles in the treatment of children with Wilms tumor. This multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive clinical care for patients, supportive care for their families, and ongoing laboratory and clinical research. »Learn more about our pediatric cancer care team
Comer Children’s provides important resources to help children and their families live with cancer.
- Child Life Program: Kids want to feel like kids, even when they are sick. Our Child Life specialists use play, art, and other approaches to take some of the scare away from the cancer experience and to help kids feel as normal as possible.
- Ronald McDonald House: Located near Comer Children’s, the Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families with hospitalized children.