Ron Artest Competes on DWTS for Daughter Who Survived Kidney Cancer

The celebrity cast of Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars was announced this week with much fanfare. But for one of the new contestants, Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest, this competition is personal. Artest says he’s on the show to raise money for cancer research. He was inspired by his 8-year old daughter Diamond‘s battle with a kidney cancer called Wilms’ Tumor. According to People magazine:

“At first it was not appealing,” Artest confesses. “I did not want to do it. I don’t dance and all of the dressing up and everything, but my daughter Diamond was like, Daddy, you should do it.” “She asked me to do it, and I thought I could dance and raise some money for cancer research. I’m going to donate the profits.”

Diamond was diagnosed with Wilms’ Tumor at the age of 4. When the stomach pains she of which she complained wouldn’t go away, she was taken to her family doctor. A large lump in her abdomen was found, and she was eventually diagnosed with Stage 3 Wilms’ Tumor.  Stage 3 means that the cancer has spread to tissues, and possibly the lymph nodes near the kidney and cannot be completely removed by surgery. Diamond had to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before it could be removed. Typically the whole kidney is removed with the tumor, but this wasn’t possible for Diamond, since she was born with only one kidney. Fortunately, Diamond is doing great now, and will surely serve as an inspiration to her father during the competition.

Wilms’ tumor is a rare type of kidney cancer that affects children. It causes a tumor on one or both kidneys. According to the American Cancer Society, about 500 new cases of Wilms tumors are diagnosed in the United States each year. About 5% of all cancers in children are Wilms tumors.

Wilms tumors tend to occur in young children. The average age at diagnosis is about 3 years. It becomes less common as children grow older and is uncommon after age 6.  Wilms tumors are slightly more common among African Americans and among girls. It is a very treatable cancer- about 90% of patients are still cancer-free five years after treatment.

Possible signs of a kidney tumor include a lump in the abdomen and blood in the urine. Because the kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen (on either side of the spine), the tumors often grow quite large before they are detected.  Other signs can include fever, constipation, decreased appetite, abdominal pain and weight loss.

The tumor is usually diagnosed and removed in surgery. Other treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, biologic therapy or a combination. Biologic therapy, or immunotherapy, boosts your body’s own ability to fight cancer.

I’ll be rooting for Ron during the competition, since he will be competing for a very worthy cause.



Any of you have any experience with Wilms’ Tumor?

Parents, have you had a child with cancer? Tell us about that experience?

For more information about Wilms’ Tumor, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Photo Credit: American Society of Clinical Oncology

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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