After surgery, most patients with Wilms' tumor receive chemotherapy and some receive radiation therapy.
The drugs used most often are dactinomycin and vincristine. These drugs have been used for 30 years with very good success.
- With surgery alone, the survival rate is only 25 out of 100.
- With chemotherapy, the survival rate is nearly 90 of every 100.
Each child will receive a dose of these drugs based on their personal health. Generally, children who have the whole tumor removed get chemo for 6 months. If the tumor is still present or it has spread, a child will be given a different type of drug, such as doxorubicin.
Radiation therapy uses special x-rays to shrink tumors. This can be used depending on where the tumor has spread. With the other treatments, radiation can improve survival. But, there is some risk of side effects.
Radiation does not seem to work on unfavorable tumor types. Research is being done to find better ways to treat these tumors.