Wilms Tumor

Wilms tumor is a rare form of kidney cancer that affects children — typically newborns and young children.

Remarkable Care for Kids

  • Access to the newest treatments: Pediatric cancer patients at Rush have access to the best and newest treatments available. As a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, Rush participates in the latest clinical research trials and cooperates with other national and international medical centers to improve care for children with cancer.
  • Clinical research trials available: All pediatric cancer patients at Rush are offered the opportunity to participate in clinical research trials through the National Cancer Institute and the Children’s Oncology Group.
  • Nationally recognized clinicians: Physicians at Rush University Children’s Hospital have international reputations for their contributions to pediatric cancer research and treatment.
  • Expert surgical care: For more than 20 years, the pediatric surgeons at Rush University Children's Hospital have been providing expert surgical care to children with Wilms tumor.
  • Support to better cope with hospital stays: The Child Life Program at Rush University Children’s Hospital uses therapeutic play, art and other forms of self-expression to help you and your child cope with the stress and difficulty of being in a hospital.
  • Arts program for hospitalized children: Rush is one of few hospitals in Illinois partnering with Snow City Arts, an arts and education program that offers children in the hospital one-on-one instruction in visual arts, creative writing, music, theater and film-making. 

What is Wilms tumor?

Wilms tumor can be located in one or both kidneys. It is usually highly treatable, with most kids going on to live healthy lives. 

Wilms tumor: things you should know

  • Wilms tumor is most common in children younger than 5 years old.
  • Children with the following genetic disorders and birth defects are at an increased risk for developing a Wilms tumor:
    • WAGR syndrome: Causes eye problems, intellectual and behavioral disabilities and abnormalities of the genitalia and urinary tract
    • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome: Associated with larger than normal organs
    • Idiopathic hemihypertrophy: An abnormally large growth on one side of the body or body part
    • Denys-Drash syndrome: A genitalia defect
    • Cryptorchidism: Undescended testicle
    • Hypospadias: The opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis, causing the penis to curve
  • Children who have any of the above conditions should get screened with an ultrasound every three months until they are at least 8 years old.
  • More than 80 percent of children with cancer in the U.S. participate in Children’s Oncology Group clinical trials — which are open at Rush. Enrolling in these research trials is considered the standard of care and offers your child the best chance for a cure.

Symptoms of Wilms tumor

Call your pediatrician if your child is experiencing any of these Wilms tumor symptoms:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Firm, smooth lump in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean your child has a kidney tumor. Many other conditions have similar symptoms. Your doctor at Rush can help you determine the root of your child’s symptoms.

Care for Wilms tumor at Rush

The treatment for most children with Wilms tumor includes both surgery and chemotherapy. Children who have more advanced kidney cancer may require radiation therapy.

  • Surgery: Removes the tumor or the entire kidney (nephrectomy), depending on the size of the tumor
  • Chemotherapy: Destroys cancerous cells in the body
  • Radiation therapy: Kills specific cells in different areas of the body