Renal tumours: long-term outcome
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Childhood cancer is rare, with an incidence of 100 new cases per million children and with renal tumours contributing 7% of cases. The introduction of multimodality treatment, surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, has led to an exponential increase in the 5-year survival rate to >80%. However, this successful treatment has led to the development of late adverse effects. These treatment-related effects can cause premature deaths and increased morbidity compared with patients’ peers. Radiation causes damage to tissue and organs within the radiation field, affecting growth and function, and is largely responsible for the leading cause of death, namely, second malignant neoplasms. Another important late effect is cardiac dysfunction due to anthracycline use with or without cardiac radiation. In addition, a few patients have genetic abnormalities predisposing to Wilms tumour development, which result in renal dysfunction in the long term and may be exacerbated by cancer treatment regimens. Awareness of late consequences of cancer treatment is important, as early recognition can improve outcome. When presented with a patient with a history of renal tumours, it is vital to enquire about previous treatment to understand whether it is relevant to the presenting problem.