When one has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, the doctor will follow a procedure to conclude the stage of the disease. Staging is a way to understand the location and extent of the spread of the tumor. Diagnosis of kidney cancer and prognosis by stage is a critical step to understand the best treatment options.
Stages of kidney cancer
The widely used method to determine the stage of kidney cancer is called the TNM system.
- T: This states the size of the tumor and determines whether or not it has invaded the surrounding tissues.
- N: This helps conclude the extent of spread.
- M: M indicates whether cancer has metastasized and spread to the near and distant lymph nodes.
For instance, a person diagnosed with T1, N0, M0 indicates that a small tumor is present in one kidney that has not spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes.
Meanwhile, cancer can also be diagnosed through stages 1 to 4. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the stage, the better are the survival rates and recovery chances.
- Stage 1
This is the least critical stage and has the best survival rates. In this, the size of the tumor is relatively small. Also, it appears in only one kidney, and there is barely a possibility that it has spread to the nearby lymph nodes or surrounding tissues.
For those looking to understand kidney cancer – prognosis by stage, here, the cancerous kidney will most likely be removed, without the need for immediate therapy. The recovery chances are quite good, and most patients can live for at least five more years after their original diagnosis.
- Stage 2
In this, the tumor has enlarged to become more than 7 cm. However, it only appears in the kidney. Also, it has not spread to the nearby organs and lymph nodes.
Like stage 1, the cancerous kidney will be removed, without the need for immediate therapy. The survival rates at this stage are also good.
- Stage 3
There can be two scenarios in this case. First, the tumor has grown in size and spread to the nearby tissues, but not the lymph nodes. Second, the tumor can be of any size and may appear outside the kidney. The tumor cells have also reached the nearby lymph nodes.
In either case, there is a need for immediate and aggressive treatment. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, they may be removed by operation. The survival rate, in this case, is low, but still, most people can live for at least five years post-diagnosis.
- Stage 4
This is again categorized in two ways. Firstly, the tumor has spread beyond the kidney and may or may not have reached the lymph nodes. Secondly, cancer has metastasized and spread to other body organs.
The survival rate in this stage is quite bleak. Only a few people can live for up to five years after the diagnosis.
The above-mentioned points will help you understand kidney cancer – prognosis by stage in a clear and lucid manner.