Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment



Kidney Cancer in Children: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Doctors are expressing their concern over rising cases of kidney cancer in children. Childhood cancer is a sensitive topic that requires utmost awareness. As per statistics, around 1.6 to 4.8% of the total cancer cases in India are seen in young children. Onlymyhealth spoke to dr. Srinivas M, Consultant Pediatrician at Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad to understand potential risk factors that put children at risk of childhood cancer.

Causes of kidney cancer in children

Generally, there are three types of kidney cancer affecting children namely Wilms’ tumour, Congenital Mesoblastic Nephroma and renal cell cancer in the renal tubules. It is unknown what specifically causes kidney cancer. Some birth abnormalities have been associated with Wilms’ tumor.

Additionally, siblings have a higher likelihood of developing Wilms’ tumor. This implies that it may be inherited within families.

The genetics of how pediatric kidney cancers develop has drawn a lot of attention. There has been evidence connecting some particular chromosomal abnormalities to a higher risk of Wilms tumor and tumor development. The possibility that this would clarify how to manage this disease is hoped for by experts.

Also Read: 5 Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer You Should Be Aware Of

Symptoms of childhood kidney cancer

A lump is the initial indication. The child might feel a lump in their stomach while doing daily activities such as bathing. Or, the pediatrician might find it when performing a standard examination. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Urine with blood in it
  • abdominal discomfort
  • Having no appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Issues with the stools
  • high blood pressure
kidney cancer in children

How is kidney cancer diagnosed?

A doctor will perform an examination and request testing if a child has a tumor or lump in his or her abdomen:

Ultrasound: to determine whether the lump is solid and whether it started growing in the kidney or somewhere else.

To determine the mass’s size and whether it has spread, use a CT or MRI,

The general kidney cancer phases are:

  • Stage I: Kidney-specific tumor
  • Stage II: Kidney tumor with some localized spread and kidney vein tumor
  • Stage III: Kidney carcinoma is visible in nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: lung, liver, bone, or brain involvement of kidney cancer
  • Stage V: Bilateral tumors in stage V refers to malignancies.

Treatment of kidney cancer in children

Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary form of treatment for all pediatric kidney tumors. The majority of patients undergo a procedure called a radical nephrectomy.

Kidney cancer in children types

Radical Nephrectomy

The entire kidney and tumor are removed during this procedure. To determine whether the cancer has spread, the doctor will examine the liver and adjacent lymph nodes. It is crucial to understand whether the tumor solely affects the kidneys.


Dactinomycin and vincristine are the medications most frequently used. These medications have been used for 30 years and offer promising results.

  • The survival rate after surgery alone is barely 25 out of 100.
  • The survival rate after chemotherapy is around 90%.

Based on their individual health, each child will be given a dose of these medications. Children who have their entire tumor removed typically receive chemotherapy for six months. A different kind of medication, such as doxorubicin, will be given to a child if the tumor is still there or if it has spread.

radiation therapy

Tumors are reduced by radiation therapy using specialized x-rays. Depending on how far the tumor has spread, this may be employed. Radiation can increase survival when combined with other therapies. However, there is a chance of adverse effects.


The kind, stage, and location of the tumor all affect the likelihood of a child’s recovery. Recurrence of cancer or tumor is also possible. Ideally, cancers that come back are discovered quickly and are easier to treat. To safeguard the kidney, the surgery will be performed cautiously. It is more difficult to treat children with cancer that is particularly aggressive.