Wilms Tumor and Other Kidney Cancers

Clear Cell Sarcoma, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Mesoblastic Nephroma, and Rhabdoid Tumors

Call for an Appointment 855-855-6484

Treating children with kidney cancer requires a team approach to provide comprehensive care. At Duke Children's, our pediatric oncologists work with pediatric urologists, surgeons, nephrologists, and radiation oncologists to customize treatment for children with Wilms tumor and other kidney cancers. We offer support and assistance to help you and your family manage the practical and emotional aspects of your child's condition.

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About Childhood Kidney Cancers

Childhood kidney cancers occur when immature cells in the kidneys grow out of control and form a tumor. Wilms tumor is the most common type of kidney cancer in children. While it can affect both kidneys, it usually only develops in one. Other, less common kidney tumors include clear cell sarcoma, renal cell carcinoma, mesoblastic nephroma, and rhabdoid tumor. Each type of kidney tumor requires a different treatment, and your child’s care plan may include one or more different approaches.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Our doctors use blood, urine, and imaging tests to identify your child's kidney cancer, the tumor's size and location, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Our initial testing helps doctors determine the best treatment approach for your child. 


Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells or stops them from growing and prevents cancer from recurring. It is administered in an intravenous (IV) infusion or an injection. 


Most children with kidney cancer undergo surgery to remove the tumor and the tissue around it to make sure no cancer cells are left behind. When appropriate, our pediatric urologists and surgeons use minimally invasive (robotic or laparoscopic) surgery. These surgical techniques rely on smaller incisions to help your child recover faster.

Radiation Therapy

External-beam radiation therapy is delivered by a machine outside the body that focuses high-energy X-ray beams on tumors to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells. Our pediatric radiation oncologists use advanced imaging techniques to deliver radiation to only the areas where it is needed and to minimize damage to surrounding tissues.

Family and Support Services

Your child receives a personalized treatment and follow-up plan that’s tailored to their needs. You also have access to services that are designed to make your child’s experience as positive as possible and support your family throughout treatment.

Extended Cancer Outpatient Services

We offer outpatient services -- such as chemotherapy, transfusions, and lab tests -- 12 hours a day, seven days a week at Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center. This means your child won’t need to be admitted to the hospital just because they don’t feel well or need treatment over the weekend or when your doctor’s office is closed. 

Quality-of-Life Care

You want your child to be as comfortable as possible during treatment. Our team focuses on managing your child’s symptoms and other aspects of treatment that affect their quality of life. We help with pain management, supportive nutrition, relaxation techniques, and more to get your child through treatment. We’re here to improve your child’s and your family’s well-being during treatment and hospitalization.

Teen and Young Adult Oncology Program

Teens and young adults are too old to be treated like children, but adult care might not be quite right for them either. Our Teen and Young Adult Oncology Program brings together the expertise of pediatric and adult cancer specialists to determine what’s best for each person, along with personalized psychological support. We customize treatment and services that consider your child’s unique needs, including support and guidance to help them cope with treatment during high school or college and how treatment affects their social life.

Childhood Cancer Survivorship Care

Once treatment is complete, we offer long-term follow-up services for preventive health care, including screenings, ongoing surveillance, and care for symptoms that may develop later as a result of treatment. Our social workers and child psychologists offer support and assistance with school-related or personal issues. In addition, we can help your child transition to adult cancer care services -- all within Duke -- when they’re ready. You’ll have the necessary resources to ensure your child’s long-term well-being.

Child and Adolescent Life Team

When your child is fighting cancer, it’s difficult for the entire family, so we try to make it a little easier on you. Whether it's explaining a procedure, offering encouragement, or arranging fun activities during therapy or during a hospital stay, your child gets care in a welcoming, kid-friendly environment. And you and your family can get emotional support and education to help you cope as your child goes through treatment and recovery.

Care Coordination and Support

It’s helpful to have a team on your side to help you manage your child’s care. Our social workers can help you navigate the medical system and coordinate the variety of health services your child needs. They can help you work with insurance providers, connect you with resources, and help you manage the details related to your child’s care. Our nurse coordinators can help you schedule appointments for tests, treatments, and other medical visits.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

Why Choose Duke

Your Child Benefits from Expertise of Leading Cancer Researchers
Our pediatric doctors are also researchers who collaborate with cancer specialists worldwide through the Children's Oncology Group, the world’s largest childhood and adolescent cancer research organization. That means your child gets the combined expertise of leading cancer researchers and has access to the latest treatments, including some of today’s most promising treatments through clinical trials.

We Specialize in Organ-Sparing Surgery
Most children with a Wilms tumor or other kidney cancer need surgery. Our pediatric surgeons and urologists specialize in organ-sparing surgery that removes the tumor but leaves as much healthy kidney tissue as possible. Children who need an entire kidney removed can still lead a normal, healthy life.

Children's Surgery Center
Duke Children’s is certified as a Level I Verified Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons. This designation recognizes our commitment to providing the safest and highest-quality surgical care to our young patients.

This page was medically reviewed on 04/10/2024 by