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How do they define what kind of Mass you have priro to surgery?

Posts: 22
Joined: May 2011

What kind of testing do they do to determine if the mass in the kidney is benign or malignant, and what kind, prior to performing a radical procedure?
I understand that with Renal Cancer needle biopsy is not recommended. So How do they know in advance, so they don't remove a kidney if you merely have something benign?

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3336
Joined: Jan 2010

I was told that my clear type little rascal had an 85 to 90 % chance of being malignant prior to surgery based upon the size and appearance on the CT scan. When they did the surgery and the littke rascal was removed a pathologist sliced the tumor to confirm that it was malignant. Other types of complex cysts they determine a percentage of malignancy based upon the size. The problem is that once a tumor gets a certain size it metastizes if malignant and you can go from stage 1 to stage 4 very quickly. When the tumors are very small (1 or 2 cm) the doctors may wait to see what happens. Also tumors that are not malignant have a greater chance of malignancy as they grow. The doctors would much rather nip a small tumor in the bud than remove a larger one and have to discuss further treatments where the cancer has spread.

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

That's my understanding as well. For possible cancer surgeries, they slice off a piece of the tumor and have a pathologist right there to screen the slice for cancer. They'll have that information before they proceed because the diagnosis will determine how much needs to be done. The pathologist will call in the results immediately to the surgeon.

Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 2010

For me, the CT scan lead to an MRI, which pretty much confirmed it before surgery. I was told it was more than likely cancer. I think they can tell so much with the imaging these days. Then of course, the pathology confirms it all. good luck

Posts: 44
Joined: May 2011

I went in for an MRI on the lungs because of pneumonia. they scanned me down to the kidneys, and saw the mass. I was sent to a urologist and then had a biopsy on it where they found it to be an RCC. only porblem they saw one where there were 2.

Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2011

I had an ultrasound which found the mass initially, then a CT scan, and then they did a biopsy on my renal mass. I went to Massachusetts General Hospital which is known to be a great hospital so I trusted them. My doctor did say they don't always do biopsies on kidney tumors but on a case by case basis it's helpful. My first biopsy was "non- diagnostic" meaning they didn't get the cells they needed (I guess), so I then had an MRI, and they still weren't sure, so I had a second biopsy. Because I am 35 and the tumor was right in the middle of my kidney (meaning if they had to take the tumor they'd have to take the entire kidney, no partial option for me), I think this is why they did the biopsies, to be really sure. Ultimately it was the biopsy that confirmed my RCC, and I had my kidney removed exactly 2 weeks ago.
It was frustrating to have to go through so much to confirm the diagnosis but if they're going to take an internal organ out of you, you should know that it's absolutely necessary!

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