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Childhood Cancer

Chapter 7: Kidney Tumors

ABOUT 600 CHILDREN AND TEENS in North America are diagnosed each year with cancer that originates in the kidney. The most common kidney cancer is Wilms tumor, which gets its name from a German doctor, Max Wilms, who wrote one of the first medical articles about it in 1899. Eighty percent of all kidney cancers in children are Wilms tumor. The remaining 20 percent includes renal cell carcinoma, clear cell sarcoma of the kidney, malignant rhabdoid tumor of the kidney, and congenital mesoblastic nephroma. Sometimes a kidney tumor is not cancerous, and its removal is curative. Examples of these tumors are cystic nephroma and nephrogenic rests.

This chapter first explains the structure and function of the kidneys and the symptoms of kidney tumors. It then covers each of the four main types of kidney tumors and describes who gets them, what the signs and symptoms are, how they are diagnosed, and how they are treated. It ends with a brief discussion about how parents can find out about the newest treatments available.