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Minimally Complex Renal Cyst in rt Kidney

Jeff K
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

OK, I am a 41 yr old Male and have had a minimally complex (Bosniak IIF) cyst measuring 3.0 cm in my right kidney that was discovered in July 2003. Dr.'s have monitored it with Ultrasound and CT scans over the last 6 years, but this past year, it increased in size to 4.0 cm. Three urologists at Barnes-Jewish hospital in St. Louis have all said we should continue to watch it as the risk from surgery is actually greater than merely watching it via scans. The cyst shows a small hair-thin septation, but does not enhance and has no calcium or wall thickening at all.

Obviously, reading these stories of RCC and the various stages have scared me silly, so my inclination is to have the Dr. perform a robot assisted laprascopic partial nephrectomy and get this cyst (whether malignent or benign) out of there.

Can you all give me your advice as to what you would do if you were me?

Thanks so much for your responses.

Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2009

I think you need to have confidence in your doctors. If you have an established urologist they have seen enough ultrasounds and CT scans to tell if it is cancerous. Have you seen more than one doctor? Can they take a biopsy of it? I had a radical nephrectomy on May 6th and it was not as easy recovering as I thought it would be. Mine was not robot assisted but I still would not recommend you to do it unless your doctors say you have to have it. I have several cyst in my breast that a different group of doctors have been watching for about 5 years. Now I am a little worried that it could be cancer and they were wrong all along. I have to have faith they know what they are doing. I pray that God will help you with your decision.

Jeff K
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

I have seen 3 separate urologists within the hospital over the last 6 years. Two new ones just recently after the cyst had grown more than I was prepared for. However, in speaking with them, they continue to say they believe it looks benign and that cysts in the kidneys are very common. They also tell me that since kidney cancer is a slow growing cancer, if the cyst changes during my next ultrasound (1 year from now), they can always perform the surgery at that time and the risk that something would have spread is very low.

It is really not recommended to take a needle biopsy of kidney cysts as the risk of "seeding" the cancer (if it is there in the first place) is too high. They typically can't tell with 100% certainty unless they take the whole cyst out and test it.

Sounds like you are in the same boat as me with your cysts. It seems to always be in the back of my mind that I could have cancer that I could "get rid of" with an operation now. However, the surgical risk is one that I don't want to over look either (especially if it turned out benign and I went ahead with a partial nephrectormy that I didn't need).

Any other thoughts on this decision would be appreciated.

donna_lee's picture
Posts: 742
Joined: Feb 2009

I had right radical nephrectomy in 2006. All subsequent CT scans show cysts in the other kidney plus liver. I just take it as good news that the radiologist calls it a cyst and not a growth/mass. Since 2006, I had two subsequesnt surgeries a year apart for lymph nodes -both cancerous that were not there one time, and had grown by the next CT. This summer is the first year in 4 that I can plan for something besides surgery and recovery and I'm taking full advantage of my "free" time.

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