Massive Tumor Found In 3-Year-Old's Stomach: What Is Wilms Tumor?

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A child hospitalized for malnutrition lies in a hospital bed in Tartagal, Salta Province
A child hospitalized for malnutrition lies in a hospital bed in Tartagal, Salta Province

A 3-year-old girl in India underwent surgery for what her doctors described as the biggest Wilms tumor they had ever dealt with.

In the city of Ahmedabad in India, two parents began worrying when they noticed their daughter's stomach inflating. Thinking that it was caused by their sedentary lifestyle and excessive eating, the parents decided to wait.

It wasn't until the toddler's stomach started growing bigger and she could barely sit, stand or breathe properly when the parents rushed their child to the hospital, The Times of India reported.

Upon examination, doctors detected a rapidly growing tumor in the child's stomach that was shrinking her diaphragm and putting pressure on her kidneys. The child was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, and the surgery to remove it was expected to be risky, doctors said.

“The child was too young, but the need of the hour is to ensure that she doesn’t develop other complications. With a team including anesthetist Ankit Chauhan and pediatric surgeon Kirti Prajapati, our initial idea was to at least remove a portion of the tumor,” said surgical oncologist Nitin Singhal.

“But on the operation theater, we realized that it was the biggest Wilms Tumor we had dealt with weighing 3.1 kg – 22% of the girl’s total weight of 14 kg," Singhal added.

Due to the size of the tumor (about 6.8 pounds), the 3-year-old's case is considered rare and was submitted by doctors to an international medical journal.

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Photo: Reuters

“Apart from the size and tumor-to-body weight ratio, the case was interesting as the girl had a horseshoe kidney – where the ends of the kidneys are attached from one side – and the tumor had grown from it. The occurrence of Wilms Tumour – also known as nephroblastoma, one of the most common kidney cancers among kids – on such kidneys is less than 1%,” said Singhal.

The child was discharged from the hospital five days after surgery and has been reported to be recovering well.

“She is recuperating well. It was surely a scary moment for us when we got to know about the huge tumor, but now her breathing and food intake have normalized,” the girl’s father told The Times of India.

Wilms tumor, according to the American Cancer Society, is a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys and occurs among children. This cancer develops when the cells in the kidneys begin to grow out of control, resulting in a tumor. The exact cause of the cancer is not known, and most Wilms tumors often become quite large before they are noticed.

Early detection is crucial in diagnosing Wilms tumors. According to doctors, the most common symptom of Wilms tumors is swelling or a large bump in the abdomen. This could also be accompanied by fever, blood in the urine, constipation, nausea  and loss of appetite.

About nine out of 10 children diagnosed with this cancer are cured. Although medical professionals continue to develop new and better ways to treat children with the disease, the main types of treatment today include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

revolutionary drug shows great promise in stopping tumor growth
revolutionary drug shows great promise in stopping tumor growth
Photo: skeeze - Pixabay

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