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Fifteen-minute consultation: A general paediatrician’s guide to oncological abdominal masses
  1. Lena Uzunova1,
  2. Helen Bailie2,
  3. Matthew J Murray3
  1. 1 Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3 Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lena Uzunova, Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London WC1N 3JH, UK; lena.uzunova{at}


The identification of an abdominal mass in a child, either coincidental or symptomatic, may be due to a tumour. An abdominal tumour may present with life-threatening symptoms, requiring prompt assessment and management. Although the discovery of such a finding usually warrants inpatient transfer or outpatient referral to the tertiary oncology centre, the initial evaluation, management and communication with the family by the general paediatrician is crucial. A thorough history and examination, which includes an organised, structured approach to abdominal masses, is paramount. The anatomical location of the mass, age of the patient and the presence of any associated symptoms or signs must be considered together in order to formulate a list of potential differential diagnoses and guide the next appropriate investigations. This article aims to guide general paediatricians through the assessment and initial management of a child presenting with an abdominal mass suspected to be a tumour.

  • abdominal neoplasms
  • abdominal pain
  • emergencies
  • referral and consultation

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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