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madiarsg's picture
madiarsg
Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2010

I was just diagnosed with a 4.5 cm by 4.3 cm renal cyst on my right kidney. We do not know the category yet, but I do go in Wednesday for a Contrast CT, and meet with the urologist after that. I am quite terrified and panicked, and I am trying to understand what this means. I already deal with depression, being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder a few years ago. I have 2 young children I am trying to keep it together for, but it's hard. I have no experience with cancer, I know nothing about what to expect, and I am scared.

SarahD's picture
SarahD
Posts: 140
Joined: Jun 2010

hang in there and take it one day at a time

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

my wife had renal cell carcinoma on her right kidney in aug 2005 and it was 7 cm in size. Cat scan showed only local to kidney and she had enitre kidney removed. She left hospital in 3 days and went back to work in 3 weeks FT. Her stage was 1 or 2 but at that stage its a very treatable type of cancer and unlikely to come back. She did not get any other treatment (rad/chemo). If the stage is 3 or 4, its my understanding that chmeo/rad is not very effective and difficult to treat.

AJCC (TNM) staging system

A staging system is a standardized way in which the cancer care team describes the extent of the cancer. The most commonly used staging system is that of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), sometimes also known as the TNM system. The TNM system describes 3 key pieces of information:

•T indicates the size of the main (primary) tumor and whether it has grown into nearby areas.
•N describes the extent of spread to nearby (regional) lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped collections of immune system cells that are important in fighting infections.
•M indicates whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs of the body. (The most common sites of spread are to the lungs, bones, liver, and distant lymph nodes.)
Numbers or letters appear after T, N, and M to provide more details about each of these factors. The numbers 0 through 4 indicate increasing severity. The letter X means "cannot be assessed because the information is not available."

T categories for kidney cancerTX: The primary tumor cannot be assessed (information not available).

T0: No evidence of a primary tumor.

T1: The tumor is only in the kidney and is 7 cm (a little less than 3 inches) or less across

•T1a: The tumor is 4 cm (about 11/2 inches) across or smaller and is only in the kidney.
•T1b: The tumor is larger than 4 cm but not larger than 7 cm across and is only in the kidney.

T2: The tumor is larger than 7 cm across but is still only in the kidney.

•T2a: The tumor is more than 7 cm but not more than 10 cm (about 4 inches) across and is only in the kidney

•T2b: The tumor is more than 10 cm across and is only in the kidney

T3: The tumor is growing into a major vein or into tissue around the kidney, but it is not growing into the adrenal gland (on top of the kidney) or beyond Gerota's fascia (the fibrous layer that surrounds the kidney and nearby fatty tissue).

•T3a: The tumor is growing into the main vein leading out of the kidney (renal vein) or into fatty tissue around the kidney

•T3b: The tumor is growing into the part of the large vein leading into the heart (vena cava) that is within the abdomen.

•T3c: The tumor has grown into the part of the vena cava that is within the chest or it is growing into the wall of that blood vessel (the vena cava).

T4: The tumor has spread beyond Gerota's fascia (fibrous layer that surrounds the kidney and nearby fatty tissue). The tumor may have grown into the adrenal gland (on top of the kidney).

N categories for kidney cancerNX: Regional (nearby) lymph nodes cannot be assessed (information not available).

N0: No spread to nearby lymph nodes.

N1: Tumor has spread to nearby lymph nodes.

M categories for kidney cancerM0: There is no spread to distant lymph nodes or other organs.

M1: Distant metastasis is present; includes spread to distant lymph nodes and/or to other organs (such as the lungs, bones, or brain).

Stage groupingOnce the T, N, and M categories have been assigned, this information is combined to assign an overall stage of I, II, III, or IV. The stages identify cancers that have a similar prognosis and thus are treated in a similar way. Patients with lower stage numbers tend to have a better prognosis.

Stage I: T1, N0, M0

The tumor is 7 cm across or smaller and is only in the kidney (T1). There is no spread to lymph nodes (N0) or distant organs (M0).

Stage II: T2, N0, M0

The tumor is larger than 7 cm across but is still only in the kidney (T2). There is no spread to lymph nodes (N0) or distant organs (M0).

Stage III: Either of the following:

T3, N0, M0: The tumor is growing into a major vein (like the renal vein or the vena cava) or into tissue around the kidney, but it is not growing into the adrenal gland or beyond Gerota's fascia (T3). There is no spread to lymph nodes (N0) or distant organs (M0).

T1 to T3, N1, M0: The main tumor can be any size and may be outside the kidney, but it has not spread beyond Gerota's fascia. The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N1) but has not spread to distant lymph nodes or other organs (M0).

Stage IV: Either of the following:

T4, any N, M0: The main tumor is growing beyond Gerota's fascia and may be growing into the adrenal gland on top of the kidney (T4). It may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes (any N). It has not spread to distant lymph nodes or other organs (M0).

Any T, Any N, M1: The main tumor can be any size and may have grown outside the kidney (any T). It may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes (any N). It has spread to distant lymph nodes and/or other organs (M1).

Other staging and prognostic systems
While the TNM staging system is useful, some doctors have pointed out that there are factors other than the extent of the cancer that should be considered when determining prognosis and treatment.

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Integrated Staging System This is a more complex system that came out in 2001. It was meant to improve upon the AJCC staging that was then in place. Along with the stage of the cancer, it takes into account a person's overall health and the Fuhrman grade of the tumor. These factors are combined to divide people into low, intermediate, and high risk groups. You may want to ask your doctor if he or she uses this system and how it might apply to your case. In 2002, researchers at UCLA published a study evaluating their system, looking at survival rates of the low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups. For patients with localized kidney cancer (cancer not spread to distant organs) they found 5-year survival rates of 91% for low risk groups, 80% for intermediate groups, and 55% for high risk groups.

Survival predictors Stage of disease is a predictor of survival. Now researchers have linked certain factors with shorter survival times in people with kidney cancer:

•High blood lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level
•High blood calcium level
•Anemia (low red blood cell count)
•Cancer spread to 2 or more distant sites
•Less than a year from diagnosis to the need for systemic treatment (targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy)
•Low performance status (a measure of how well a person can do normal daily activities)
People with none of the above factors are considered to have a good prognosis; 1 or 2 factors are considered intermediate prognosis, and 3 or more of these factors are considered to have a poor prognosis (outlook) and may be more or less likely to benefit from certain treatments.

Last Medical Review: 02/18/2010
Last Revised: 07/20/2010

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

Very few of us have any experience with cancer. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was terrified and didn't know what to expect.

One thing I recommend is to get a second opinion. My rad. onc. didn't prepare me for the side effects of radiation. If I knew then what I know now, I would have had a mastectomy instead of lumpectomy and radiation. The radiation was nothing...it's the side effects. If I had had a mastectomy, I wouldn't be going through what I'm going through right now. It's all side effects 3 months after treatment finished.

Another thing I recommend is either find a support group or get a therapist. There is no support group within 45-50 minute drive from me. My therapist is trying to start one. I am so thankful that I found this site...it has been a life saver.

I went through severe depression and got on anti-depressants. It has helped.

Although I don't have the same kind of cancer as you, the feelings are the same.

Know that you are not alone. We are here and we care. I know someone will post who has gone through or is going through what you are.

Pray, cry, and sleep. It's ok to vent on this site. We listen and support! Sorry for the ramblings...

Prayers and hugs to you,
Betsy

AnnaLeigh's picture
AnnaLeigh
Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2010

I am truly sorry you are having such a scary time and having to wait on a diagnosis. But we are glad you have found this discussion board. As you can see there are people eager and ready to help you any way they can. The wonderful support group here will listen to any concerns you have no matter if they seem big or small.

Waiting for news, results and diagnosis is so hard for everyone and we have all been there a time or two. All I can suggest is keep your mind preoccupied with other things or this will put too much stress on you which will not change the outcome anyway. Take someone with you on each appointment, ask lots of questions, and write down the answers. There may be a lot of information to take in at first.

Jump into some really fun activities with your two young children and let their imaginations carry you away.

We wish you the best possible outcome for your scan. You will be in our thoughts. Please post again as soon as you are able and let us know how you are doing.

HeartofSoul's picture
HeartofSoul
Posts: 732
Joined: Dec 2009

Madi, more important tests to detemrine grade of cyst/tumor in kideny

A system to grade kidney cysts by their appearance on CAT scan has been developed, which help doctors to predict which complex kidney cysts are more likely to have kidney cancer inside. This system is known as the Bosniak classification. The Bosniak classification provides specific definitions to classify cysts by the risk of kidney cancer.

Bosniak Categories of Complex Kidney Cysts

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