Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Wilms Tumor - Childhood

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 4/2013
Risk Factors

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about what factors increase the chance of this type of tumor. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do.

Most often, Wilms tumor is not inherited, but there can be genetic reasons for the tumor’s development.

  • Children may have a mutated (changed), damaged, or missing gene; such a change can also cause other birth defects. About 15% of children with Wilms tumor also have other health problems at the time of their birth.
  • Children with WAGR syndrome, a condition that causes a number of birth defects, have a 33% chance of developing Wilms tumor. WAGR stands for Wilms tumor, aniridia (no iris in the eye), genitourinary abnormalities (changes to the reproductive and urinary organs) or gonadoblastoma (a rare tumor of the reproductive organs), and mental retardation.
  • Children with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, a condition that causes enlarged internal organs and limbs, have a higher risk of developing Wilms tumor, kidney cysts, and tumors of the liver (hepatoblastoma), pancreas, and adrenal glands.
  • Boys with Deny-Drash syndrome, a condition in which the male sex organs do not develop correctly, have a higher risk of developing Wilms tumor.
  • A small number of children with Wilms tumor have a relative in their family with the disease.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what symptoms this type of tumor can cause. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

Last Updated: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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