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Childhood Kidney Cancer – Cancer Awareness Month
December is childhood awareness cancer month. Kidney cancer rarely afflicts children and about 90 paediatric cases are diagnosed in the UK each year. About 75% of childhood kidney cancer occurs in the under-fives. The most common paediatric kidney cancer is Wilms’ tumour, which make up to 95% of childhood kidney cancers. (For more information please visit our page on Childhood Kidney Cancer).
The Kidney Cancer UK fully realises the impact childhood kidney cancer can have not only on the child but on the family too. It is extremely important that parents know we can provide support and assistance, be it a reassuring voice at the end of a telephone through our national Kidney Cancer Careline or providing practical help such as we did for young Sofia.
For her first 14 wks of life Sofia seemed very uncomfortable and was taken to the doctors numerous times, each time being told she had reflux. In October 2012 Sofia started passing blood and was diagnosed with a dairy allergy and severe reflux. Then when Sofia attended a routine outpatients appointment for her dairy allergy she was examined by a consultant who found a lump on her right side by her kidneys. At an ultrasound it was discovered that Sofia had kidney cancer and the tumour was large. After a week she underwent an operation to have a biopsy of the lump and her kidney and the insertion of a PICC line to administer chemo. She then had 5 weeks of chemotherapy. The biopsy results came back as being a Wilms’ tumour.
Wilms’ is thought to come from very specialised cells in the embryo known as metanephric blastema. These cells are involved in the development of the child’s kidneys while they’re in the womb. The cells usually disappear at birth, but in many children with Wilms’ tumour, cells called nephrogenic rests can still be found. On Valentines Day she underwent major surgery to remove her kidney and tumour. Following 5 weeks of chemotherapy and a long stay in hospital on the 15th April Sofias end of treatment x-rays and scans indicated that her treatment appears to have been a success and she continues to make a good recovery. Through its Patient Support Grant the Kidney Cancer UK was able to provide a much needed Res-Q-Wedge to help Sofia sleep at night along with a baby swing for daytime naps. The family are spending quality time together following a further grant towards a respite break.
For more information about our patient support services please click here.