Children with Wilms tumour can be asymptomatic (without symptoms). A mass or lump in the abdomen is the most common symptom that may be noted either incidentally by the parent or a caregiver in a healthy appearing child.
Painless lump or mass in the abdomen: Many cases of Wilms tumour are detected before it spreads to other organs in the body. A mass or lump may be noted by a parent or a relative in the child’s abdomen or the parent may notice that the abdomen seems to be much larger than usual. In some small children, rapid change to a larger diaper size may alert the parents to the presence of mass in the abdomen. If you notice a lump or mass in your child’s abdomen, it is important not to apply pressure to this area. If the mass ruptures, the cancer cell can spread to other tissues in the body.
As the cancer progresses, some children may develop other symptoms or signs. Some common sign and symptoms of Wilms tumour include:
- Abdominal pain or blood in urine (may be noted in about 25% of cases). In most children, the tumour grows without causing pain and the child feels and appears healthy.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Fever (recurrent or persistent; may be of a low or moderate grade).
- Loss or reduction of appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Increase in blood pressure.
These are some symptoms that may be present in a child with Wilms tumour. Similar symptoms, however, can be caused by several other conditions such as urinary tract infection. As the child with these symptoms appears healthy, the symptoms may be mistaken for some other disease in the early stage of cancer and treated wrongly. When the symptoms do not resolve with antibiotics or other treatments, the child is further investigated. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child, consult a doctor. Your doctor can diagnose the cause of symptoms and then treat it.
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