Understanding Kidney Cancer
- A 9-year-old boy was thought to have a case of long Covid, but his persistent virus symptoms were actually a symptom of childhood kidney cancer.
- Wilms’ tumor is a type of childhood cancer that begins in the kidneys and is the most common type of kidney cancer in children. In fact, about 9 of 10 kidney cancers in children in the U.S. are Wilms’ tumors.
- In the United Kingdom, where Freddie lives, Wilms’ tumor is a bit more rare; about 80 to 85 children in the U.K. develop a Wilms’ tumor each year
Freddie Wollard, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, England, tested positive for Covid-19 in November 2021. However, even though additional Covid tests weeks later showed that Freddie was testing negative, his virus symptoms persisted.Read More
However, that wasn’t the case. When Freddie was taken back to the doctor, his parents’ worst fear became a reality: their son was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor.
Wilms’ tumor, according to the American Cancer Society, is a type of childhood cancer that begins in the kidneys and is the most common type of kidney cancer in children. In fact, about 9 of 10 kidney cancers in children (in the United States) are Wilms’ tumors.
In the United Kingdom, where Freddie lives, Wilms’ tumor is a bit more rare; about 80 to 85 children in the U.K. develop a Wilms’ tumor each year, according to Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, a cancer charity in the U.K.
Freddie’s dad Max, 33, told the Mirror of his son’s cancer diagnosis, “You just don’t expect it. It’s the sort of thing you see on the news but until it actually happens to you, you think you’re invincible. It’s just potluck. It was an absolute bombshell.”
“Freddie’s at a difficult age,” Max continued. “The one thing he keeps asking is ‘Why me?’ He knows that there’s something seriously wrong with him but he can’t get his head around why it’s happening to him.”
In March, Freddie had surgery to remove his kidney tumor, which was followed by an intense course of radiation treatment. He’ll still have to continue chemotherapy treatment for a few more months, but his prognosis is good now! You can learn about the fundraising efforts for Freddie’s care and that of others here.
Understanding Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer develops when cells in the kidneys, a pair of bean-shaped organs each about the size of a fist, begin to grow out of control. Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer. In fact, about 9 out of 10 kidney cancers are RCCs.
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
- A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss not caused by dieting
- Fever that is not caused by an infection and doesn’t go away
- Anemia (low red blood cell counts)
According to UCLA Health, kidney cancer can metastasize, or spread, to any part of the body through the blood or lymphatic system. When that happens, the first signs of cancer may not be specific to your kidneys.
Symptoms of metastatic kidney cancer may cause symptoms in the newly affected areas of the body including:
- The lungs, causing cough and shortness of breath
- The bones, resulting in bone pain or fracture
- The brain, presenting as headaches, confusion or seizures
That being said, all of these signs don’t necessarily mean you have cancer. Still, you should always bring up any changes to your health with your doctors.