Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer, or cytotoxic, drugs to destroy cancer cells. Most children with Wilms tumour will have chemotherapy. The healthcare team will consider your child’s personal needs to plan the drugs, doses and schedules of chemotherapy. Your child may also receive other treatments.
Chemotherapy is given for different reasons. Your child may have chemotherapy to:
Chemotherapy is usually a systemic therapy. This means that the drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells all over the body, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour. Drugs used to treat Wilms tumour are given by intravenous injection, usually through a special device called a central venous catheter. It allows safe delivery of the chemotherapy. The surgeon will typically place this device at the start of chemotherapy.
The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat Wilms tumour are:
A combination of chemotherapy drugs is more effective than any single drug. Some chemotherapy combinations used to treat Wilms tumour are:
Cyclophosphamide can irritate the bladder. When this chemotherapy drug is used, mesna (Uromitexan) is also given to protect the bladder.
If Wilms tumour does not respond to drugs used in earlier treatments or if it recurs, other chemotherapy regimens may be given. These may be used in alternating sequence or given as high-dose chemotherapy, sometimes with a stem cell transplant. Some of the chemotherapy combinations used include:
The following websites have information about specific drugs used to treat cancer in children.
Even though we are high school students, we were able to raise so much money for the Canadian Cancer Society. It just goes to show what can happen when a small group of people come together for a great cause.
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Community Services Locator helps cancer patients and their families find the services and programs they need in their community.