Wilms Tumor - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu.

Children with a Wilms tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, children with a Wilms tumor do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not cancer.

Usually, a Wilms tumor is found before it spreads to other parts of the body. A parent or relative may notice a large lump or feel a hard mass in the child’s belly or notice that the belly is much larger than usual. In some cases, a rapid change to a larger diaper size alerts parents to the presence of a tumor. A few children have abdominal pain. However, most of the time the tumor grows without causing pain, and the child feels and appears healthy.

Frequently, children with Wilms tumor may experience the following symptoms:

  • Blood in the urine 

  • High blood pressure

  • Anemia, which is a low level of red blood cells

  • Fatigue

  • A fever that doesn’t go away

If you are concerned about any changes your child experiences, please talk with your child’s doctor. The doctor will ask how long and how often your child has been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If a Wilms tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your child’s cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your child’s health care team about symptoms your child experiences, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.