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Wilms' Tumor Treatment

Wilms' Tumor Treatment: Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken orally or it may be put into the body by a needle in a vein or muscle. Chemotherapy is referred to as systemic treatment because the drugs enter the bloodstream, travel through the body, and kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy that is given after an operation to remove the tumor is called adjuvant therapy. When very high doses of chemotherapy are used to kill cancer cells, these high doses can destroy the blood-forming tissue in the bones (the bone marrow). If very high doses of chemotherapy are needed to treat the cancer, bone marrow may be taken from the bones before therapy and frozen until it is needed. Following chemotherapy, the bone marrow is given back through a needle in a vein. This is called autologous bone marrow reinfusion.

Wilms' Tumor Treatment: Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation for Wilms' tumor usually comes from a machine outside of the body (external radiation therapy). Radiation may be used before or after surgery and/or chemotherapy.

Side Effects of Wilms' Tumor Treatment

Some cancer treatments cause side effects that continue or appear years after Wilms' tumor treatment has ended. These are called late effects. It is important that parents of children who are treated for cancer know about the possible late effects caused by certain treatments. After several years, some patients develop another form of cancer as a result of their Wilms' tumor treatment with chemotherapy and radiation.

Wilms' Tumor Treatment: Clinical Trials

Before starting Wilms' tumor treatment, family members may want to consider having their child take part in a Wilms' tumor clinical trial. A treatment clinical trial is a Wilms' tumor research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with Wilms' tumor. When clinical trials show that a new Wilms' tumor treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.
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Wilms' Tumor Information

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