ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of children who are diagnosed with a Wilms tumor each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.
In the United States, about 500 to 600 children are diagnosed with a Wilms tumor each year. The disease accounts for about 4% of all cancers in children younger than 15 and is the most common kind of kidney cancer in children.
A Wilms tumor occurs most often in young children, usually between the ages of 3 and 4. In fact, two-thirds of Wilms tumors are diagnosed before age 5, and nearly all cases are diagnosed before age 10. As children get older, these tumors are less common, but they can still occur in people of any age. Wilms tumors are slightly more common in girls than in boys, and the risk is slightly higher in Black children than White children. Asian American children have the lowest risk.
The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of children live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for children with a Wilms tumor is 93%. However, the rate varies according to the stage of the disease. The risk that a Wilms tumor will come back after treatment is between 15% and 50%, and it is most likely to come back within the first 2 years following treatment.
Stage I, II, and III tumors with a favorable histology have a 4-year survival rate that ranges from 95% to 100%. The histology of a tumor is how its cells look under a microscope. Stage IV and V tumors with a favorable histology have a 4-year survival rate that ranges from 85% to 100%. Survival rates for tumors with a focal anaplastic histology are generally lower in each category and range from 70% to 100% survival rates. For tumors with a diffuse anaplastic histology, the survival rates range from 30% to 85% in different stage categories.
It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for children with a Wilms tumor are an estimate and are based on a small number of patients due to Wilms tumors being generally uncommon. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of children with this tumor in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 4 or 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how a Wilms tumor is diagnosed or treated from the last 4 or 5 years. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus websites. Additional source was: Seigel R, et al.: Cancer Statistics 2022. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2022 Jan; 72(1):7–33. doi/full/10.3322/caac.21708. (All sources accessed January 2022.)
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers a drawing of a kidney, which is where a Wilms tumor occurs. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.