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Does anyone know is there a relationshp bertween size and stages? Can a 3cm be a stage 3 or 4? In a prior post I was told 3cm is very curable, but doesnt it matter  what stage it is?

donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1001
Joined: Feb 2009

In mining an S&S is Serious and Substantial-and they fine you for what ever it is that could cause injury or death.

In cancer staging, it's more like Surgery" and "S---fear of the unknown."  And yes there is generally a relationship between size of tumor and Stage Dx.

Under 3 cm, and confined tothe tumor in the kidney, not reaching into a vein, is Clear Cell, and surgically removable, is more than likely a Stage 1.

Your best way of understanding this is to do a web search for "Staging Kidney Cancer."  American Cancer Society, Kidney Cancer Association, and a couple of other reliable sites will break it down into a chart or columns you  will understand better than any one of us explaining it to you. 

Even since I was diagnosed in 2006, they have added a couple of categories by adding a "letter" after the Stage #.

Go now...and get some of your questions answered.  There are also good sites that will explain your lab test results and the definitions for the alphabet soup of tests run on a couple of vials of blood.  Search for Blood lab results or a similar combination.  Be aware that some of the sites are sponsored or earn advertising $$$ from what they can sell along the margins.  Ignore the ads; or block them.

Regretfully, welcome to the group.  There's a lot of experience here.

Good Luck.



NewDay's picture
Posts: 273
Joined: May 2012

Yes, size is a factor in determining kidney cancer staging.  

Here is a link to a site that explains the different stages:



Posts: 7
Joined: May 2015

Thanks waiting for my surgery and wondering if a 3 cm is likely to be late a late stage cancer. I read your recomdended reading material some help but does give me the simple answer i was hoping for.

Footstomper's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Sounds like a good treatable size. When they found mine it was 10cm with mets in the lungs. It wont feel like it but 3cm is good news believe me

Posts: 7
Joined: May 2015

Thank you again, my impression from you is it not likely to be advanced. Best of luck on your journey . 

NewDay's picture
Posts: 273
Joined: May 2012

A cancer would only be considered "late stage" if it has spread outside the kidney.  I'm assuming they have done scans on your chest.  Kidney cancer can spread anywhere, but the most common site is the lungs.  3cm is relatively small.  After surgery, they will analyze the tumor tissue and determine the true stage and grade which will give you a better picture of where you stand.  I know it is hard, but try not to assume the worst.  If it is 3cm and confined to the kidney, it is only Stage 1 which has a VERY low chance of spreading.

Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014


There are a lot of factors in staging, but the main thing is where the tumor has spread into.  Generally, a 3 cm tumor is not one that is going to spread.  HOWEVER, it is possible that even a small tumor that arises near the vena cava (the artery going out of the kidney) can potentially grow into or onto it, which could make it stage 3.  Generally, the staging works like this:

Stage 1 - tumor is 7cm or less and confined to kidney

Stage 2 - tumor is more than 7cm but still confined to kidney

Stage 3 - tumor is growing into a major vein but has not spread to the adrenal gland or beyond the fat layer (Gerota's fascia)

Stage 4 - tumor has spread outside the Gerota's fascia, into the adrenal gland or more than 1 lymph node.

There a lot of subsections of these stages, however, so click this link for a better description:


- Jay

todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

Stage is not just about size. It's about size and location and number of tumors.

Usually a single tumor, confined to the kidney < 7cm is Stage 1. However if that tumor invaded veins inside the kidney, it would be Stage 3.

Stage 4 means the tumor is outside the kidney or there are multiple tumors including some outside the kidney.

This is simplified.

A single, 3 cm tumor can be Stage 1 or Stage 3. If it's wholly in the kidney and didn't invade any veins, it's Stage 1. If it got into the veins (got access to the blood supply), it's Stage 3. A single tumor can't be Stage 4. (Well, if it's outside the kidney it might be classified as Stage 4, but this is very rare. It means they can't find the primary.)

Hope that helps.


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