Wilms’ Tumor: Overview, Causes

Definition

Wilms tumor is a type of kidney cancer that occurs in children.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Wilms tumor is the most common form of childhood kidney cancer. The exact cause of this tumor in most children is unknown.

A missing iris of the eye (aniridia) is a birth defect that is sometimes associated with Wilms tumor. Other birth defects linked to this type of kidney cancer include certain urinary tract problems and enlargement of one side of the body, a condition called hemihypertrophy.

It is more common among some siblings and twins, which suggests a possible genetic cause.

The disease occurs in about 1 out of 200,000 to 250,000 children. It usually strikes when a child is about 3 years old. It rarely develops after age 8.

Pictures & Images

Kidney anatomy

The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and stimulating�red blood cell production.

Wilms tumor

Wilms tumorWilms tumor is a cancerous tumor of the kidney that occurs in children.



Review Date : 5/8/2008
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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