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Wilms tumour

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Survival statistics for Wilms tumour

Survival statistics for Wilms tumour are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of children, they cannot be used to predict a particular child’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your child’s doctor can explain the statistics for Wilms tumour and what they mean for your child.

Observed survival

Observed survival is the proportion of children and youth with the same cancer who are alive at a given period of time after their diagnosis. Observed survival does not consider the cause of death, so children could have died from cancer or from other causes.

The 5-year observed survival for Wilms tumour in children 0–14 years of age is 85%. This means that, on average, 85% of children diagnosed with Wilms tumour are expected to be alive 5 years after their diagnosis.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of Wilms tumour. The following factors can also affect survival for Wilms tumour.

  • Generally, the earlier Wilms tumour is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
  • Generally, Wilms tumours with favourable histology have a better outcome than those with unfavourable (anaplastic) histology. Anaplastic Wilms tumour is more likely to recur and doesn’t respond as well to treatment.
  • Generally, children younger than 2 years old at diagnosis have a significantly better outcome than older children.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of Wilms tumour in children and youth. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries.

Wilms tumour survival – 4-year observed survival
StageFavourable histologyUnfavourable (anaplastic) histology

I

98%-99%

83%

II

96%-98%

80%-82%

III

94%-95%

67%-72%

IV

86%-90%

33%-38%

V

87%

50%-55%

Questions about survival

Parents of children with cancer should talk to their child’s doctor about the prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • a child’s medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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