Chemotherapy for Wilms Tumor

In certain uncommon situations, NYU Langone specialists may prescribe a combination of chemotherapy drugs as part of treatment for Wilms tumor in children. Doctors may recommend chemotherapy to shrink large tumors before surgery. They may use chemotherapy drugs to prevent tumors from spreading to other parts of the body or from returning after surgery. Additionally, chemotherapy may help destroy cancer cells that have spread.

NYU Langone doctors typically perform surgery to remove the tumor first, then use chemotherapy to shrink or destroy any remaining cancer cells. Pediatric oncologists at NYU Langone’s Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders determine the treatment dose based on the child’s age, how advanced the cancer is, and whether it is anaplastic, a fast-growing type of tumor.

Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy drugs for Wilms tumor are designed to attack cells that divide quickly, so they affect not only cancer cells but also healthy cells in the bone marrow, hair follicles, immune system, intestines, and mouth. This can lead to side effects, including constipation, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, hair loss, mouth sores, nausea, numbness in the hands and feet, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Chemotherapy also creates an increased risk of infection, since the drugs can reduce the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in the body. An injectable medication that increases the blood count can help manage this side effect.

Many side effects, including the increased risk of infection, disappear after therapy is completed.

Our doctors and nurses explain which side effects your child is likely to experience based on his or her treatment plan. They provide medical, emotional, and psychological support to ensure that any side effects are managed as quickly and effectively as possible.

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