Wilms Tumour Overview

Wilms tumour (also known as Nephroblastoma) is a type of embryonal cancer that affects children’s kidneys. Wilms tumour is one of the most common types of childhood cancer, predominantly affecting children under the age of 5. Wilms tumour’s most common symptom is a swelling in the abdomen.

Rarer types of renal tumours are rhabdoid renal tumour, clear cell sarcoma of the kidney and renal carcinoma.

Children With Cancer UK

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptom of Wilms’ tumour is swelling of the abdomen (tummy). This is usually painless. Other symptoms may include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • poor appetite
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • red urine due to blood in the urine
  • high blood pressure.

Tests and investigations

Your doctors will need to carry out some tests to find out as much as possible about the type, position and size of the tumour. The tests will include:

  • urine and blood samples to show how well the kidneys are working as well as some other information about general health
  • chest X-ray to show if the tumour has spread to the lungs
  • ultrasound scan to show the position and size of the tumour
  • CT scan to give more detailed information about the tumour and show if it has spread
  • biopsy, a small operation, usually carried out under general anaesthetic, in which a surgeon removes a small piece of tissue from the kidney to help make a diagnosis.

The Royal Marsden NHS Trust