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Wilms' Tumor Screening and Prevention

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Wilms' Tumor Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you're at risk but don't have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are highest.

Wilms' tumors are rare, and there are no tests that have proven efficient and effective for the general public.

However, if your baby or infant has a certain syndrome or birth defect that raises the risk for Wilms' tumor, you should speak to your child's doctor. Your child may need frequent examinations and ultrasounds until they are older.

Very rarely, Wilms' tumor runs in families. Tell your doctor if anyone else in your family has had a Wilms' tumor. If so, frequent examinations and ultrasounds may be needed.

Wilms' Tumor Risk Factors

Anything that increases your child's chance of getting Wilms' tumor is a risk factor. Although we don't know exactly what causes Wilms' tumors, some things may make your child more likely to develop the disease.

Risk factors include:

  • Age: Most children who develop Wilms' tumors are between 3 and 5 years old
  • Race: Wilms' tumor is more common in African American children. It is least prevalent in Asian American children
  • Gender: It is more common in females
  • Birth defect syndromes, including:
    • WAGR
    • Beckwith-Wiedemann
    • Denys-Drash
  • Other birth defects, including:
    • Aniridia (complete or partial lack of the iris [colored area] of the eyes)
    • Hemihypertrophy (an oversized arm and/or leg on one side of the body)
    • Cryptorchidism (failure of the testicles to descend into the scrotum) in boys
    • Hypospadias (defect in boys where the urinary opening is on the underside of the penis)
  • Other genetic conditions, including:
    • Perlman syndrome
    • Sotos syndrome
    • Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome
    • Bloom syndrome
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
    • Frasier syndrome
    • Trisomy 18

Not everyone with risk factors gets Wilms' tumor. However, if your child has risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor.

If your child has been diagnosed with Wilms' tumor, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Team approach to customized care for Wilms' tumor
  • Advanced surgical expertise
  • Clinical trials of innovative treatments for Wilms' tumor
  • Pioneers of chemotherapy for Wilms' tumor
  • Comprehensive support services for child and family

Wilms' Tumor Knowledge Center

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Treatment at MD Anderson

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