Wilms tumor (a malignant tumor of the kidney) is one of the most common cancers in children. According to the American Cancer Society, it accounts for approximately 5% of all cancers in children. The syndrome is associated with different forms of birth defects. In particular, your child may be having Wilms syndrome if:
He is a Male with Underdeveloped Genitalia
An underdeveloped male genitalia is one of the symptoms for the rare Denys-Drash syndrome (DDS). The syndrome also affects females, but their genitalia develop normally.
According to WebMD, the syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by changes/mutations of the WT1 gene. Since this gene is linked to the normal development and functions of both genitalia and kidneys, the result is that these organs are affected. In fact, a boy with DDS can easily be mistaken for a girl (as far as his genitals are concerned).
He or She is Mentally Retarded
Mental retardation is one of the elements of WAGR syndrome. WAGR represents Wilms tumor, Aniridia (absence of the iris's color), Genitourinary tract abnormalities (affects both the genitals and the urinary system) and Retardation. If a child is retarded, has abnormalities of the genitals and urinary tract, and has a discolored iris, then he or she has a 45% chance of developing Wilms tumor.
Children with WAGR syndrome also tend to be obese and autistic. Fortunately, the condition is usually diagnosed soon after birth. The telltale sign that doctors look out for is discoloration of the iris. If this is present, then a full diagnosis for WAGR is performed.
He or She is Big for His or Her Age
If your child is too big for his or her age, then it may be possible that he or she is dealing with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS). Just like WAGR, BWS is also associated with missing chromosomal materials in chromosome 11. A child may develop BWS even if he or she doesn't have a family history of the syndrome.
Apart from above-average birth size and weight, other common symptoms associated with BWS include:
It is advisable to have your child screened at a place like Rahway Reginal Cancer Center for Wilms tumor if he or she has any of these birth defects. Screening involves ultrasound and physical examination, among others, until the child reaches the age of eight. Fortunately, about 90% of children with Wilms tumor are cured with a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
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