Does The CT scan w/Contrast Differ Vastly from the MRI?

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dante8701
dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
edited March 2023 in Kidney Cancer #1

56 year old man. Summer of 2021, while visiting my brother dying from colorectal cancer, I noticed a stream of blood after urination and stopped. Chalked it up to a possible bruise to kidney. Four months later happen again, briefly. As there was no pain, Thought I would bring it up to my GP next visit. Late 2022, I did. She referred me for a CT scan, but for unexplainable reasons, I didn't go in until March 4 2023. While working on March 6th, 2023, she called me to tell me that they found a 2cm mass on left kidney and that I'll be called by the urology department of the VA (here in Houston). They did and I made an appointment for March 29, 2023.

After reading some of the older posts, I know that the emotional trauma of this is something that everyone has to get through and I'm no different. I'm really struggling though. I mean really struggling.

I'll do what I can to wait.

My question, well one of my questions is that, the CT scan shows 2cm. After reading this board, I gathered that once I meet with the urologist, he will run an MRI.

I'm scared that the result of this test will show a substantially large mass.

Opinions welcome.

Comments

  • Deanie0916
    Deanie0916 Member Posts: 616 Member
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    Hi Dante, so sorry you are going through this, but you are in a good place to get information and support. I agree with Tom Petty, "the waiting is the hardest part. " Hopefully the VA will refer you to a kidney cancer specialist / oncologist. One thing to realize is that most kidney cancers are slow growing and 2 cm is relatively small. It is great that it is caught at this size. All the best to you, please keep us updated.

  • dante8701
    dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
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    Thank you Deanie, for responding. Quick question, I'm noticing changes in my body that started around the time of the blood in urine. Initially I chalked it up to the aging process. But, now I'm not sure. If the surgery is successful and the tumor is removed, does the metabolism go back to normal?

  • Bay Area Guy
    Bay Area Guy Member Posts: 619 Member
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    Hi Dante. My lesion was discovered by accident in late 2013. It was around 1.5cm or so at that time. My urologic oncologist had me on active surveillance…..scans every six months…..because growths that small are not always malignant. It was not until April, 2016, that a scan showed growth, so it was removed. More about that later.

    In terms of the scans, mine varied between CT with contrast and ultrasound, mainly to minimize radiation exposure. Never was an MRI used, thank God, as I have pretty bad claustrophobia. Between the CT and the ultrasound, the measurements varied only very slightly. So I’m not sure you’ll have an MRI.

    As for the surgery, assuming you need and have it, it’ll likely be robotic and laparoscopic. With me, I checked into the hospital mid-June at noon and was out the next day at 130PM, so 25-1/2 hours. The operation itself took about three hours. Recovery for me was not bad, but I was comparing it to two separate open abdominal surgeries, and those are very painful recoveries. I took it slow, but was back in the gym in late August/early September in terms of weight training. But during the entire time from pretty much the morning after the operation, I walked, then walked and walked some more. It really helps with recovery.

    I didn’t notice much in the way of changes to my metabolism pre- and post-operation.

  • dante8701
    dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
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    So, if a CT w/Contrast reads 2cm, it's safe to say that after surgery, the mass will be relatively close to the 2cm? I'm not in for any surprise? I have not met with the urologist yet, so all I have is a 1 minute telephone call from my GP telling me that my CT showed the mass and that I had an appointment in a month. As I'm sure you have figured out that I'm reaching for any information that may calm my nerves.

    Indoingso, do you think of that I can be reasonably confident about the size? And I'll just have to wait for the location analysis.

    Thank you Bay Area Guy.

  • Deanie0916
    Deanie0916 Member Posts: 616 Member
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    I didn't notice any changes to metabolism after kidney surgery. Keep a list of your questions for the doctor. Bay area guy has a lot of great advice!

  • Bay Area Guy
    Bay Area Guy Member Posts: 619 Member
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    Mine was about 1.5/1.6 cm when first discovered. When it got taken out 2-1/2 years later, it was measured at around 1.8 cm, and that included a little bit of a margin of healthy cells. (If you have the surgery, one of the things you want to see on the pathology report is “clear margins”. That means they got it all.). From what my urologic oncologist told me at the time, most forms of kidney cancer are pretty slow growing, so it would be quite surprising to hear a report that you went from 2 cm to, for example, 3 or 4 cm in a short amount of time.

    One big piece of advice I forgot from before. Try hard not to search Dr. Google. From personal experience, I can tell you that you’ll just go crazy (or, in my case, crazier than I already was). You have to be extremely careful in selecting what sites you visit because advice can range from “do nothing, it’s fine) to “I got this magic potion that cures everything” all the way to the trusted sites. Even on trusted sites, you have to check when the information was posted. When I drove myself crazier, it turned out I was looking at data from the early 2000’s. Incredibly huge strides in treatment had been made between the date of the website and the 2013-16 time frame I was diagnosed in. And I’m sure between 2016 and today, even more improvements have been made.

    I know it’s really, really hard, but try to keep yourself distracted between now and the time of your appointment. Try to get yourself in otherwise good physical shape in case you do need surgery. It makes a big difference in recovery time and it’s a great way to keep yourself distracted.

    There are a lot of people here that will help you through the process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Undoubtedly, someone on the forum will have had a similar experience.

  • dante8701
    dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
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    Thank you, sincerely.

  • dante8701
    dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
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  • Allochka
    Allochka Member Posts: 1,062 Member
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    Hello,

    sorry for your brother...

    regarding kidney tumor - not sure MRI will be ordered. CT is usually excellent and enough.

    And as others said, if CT shows 2 cm - it will be around 2 cm :-). And it is veeeery small for kidney cancer. So your prognosis ir really great, and it is cool you've found it that early!

    have an easy surgery!

    Alla

  • dante8701
    dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
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    Thank you. I saw firsthand how my brother suffered and its still fresh in my mind. There is no good time to get the diagnosis, but damn, this is tough. I'm scared. But your husband and his clear scans serves as an example of the possible good outcomes with catching this early.


    Thank you, sincerely.

  • UncleJawnsBand
    UncleJawnsBand Member Posts: 4 Member
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    Dante - good luck. I'm only 83 days from finding out I had cancer, 59 days from my radical nephrectomy (mine was huge when discovered), and 55 days from finding out that they got it all. As you can see by the fact that I am still counting days, I am still processing this thing. Stay calm, stay strong, and breathe. Kidney cancer is slow growing and slow moving.

    My mass ended up being smaller than the scans said it was (they told us 9 cm, it ended up being 6 cm).

    As someone else mentioned above, avoid Dr Google. I am 54 and didn't notice any metabolic issues before or after.

    Good luck! Breathe!

  • dante8701
    dante8701 Member Posts: 10 Member
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    Thank you for your encouragement. I’m doing everything I can to stay off internet. This is the only site that I visit. I find the information credible. And like your post and others, I find it encouraging because you have been where I am now. I met my urologist on Wednesday. I told him that I had blood in urine about 1.5 years ago and told him about the 2cm mass on my left kidney and his first response was to say that usually tumors that small don’t cause blood. He ordered a cystoscopy, he performed it himself. Rather painful, but he didn’t find any issues with my bladder or prostate. Now he’s ordering an mri. He told me what was said by most everyone here, that is 2cm is small and we’re very lucky to catch it early because it leaves us many options, ie.. watching it, ablation, or nephrectomy. I’m scheduled for an mri next week and we will discuss the plan. I’m adamant that I won’t it out of me.


    I don’t mind being aware of the days like you, I’d prefer not though. Although you are aware of the terrible milestones in your life, you seem to cope with it well.