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Successful removal of a 6cm tumor - Partial Nephrectomy

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

Does anyone have any success stories to share, who had a succesful partial nephrectomy to remove a 6cm tumor? I'm scheduled to have this surgery in Dec...and would like to know the success & recovery time..also any chemo or radiation? Due to the 6cm size there seems to be more of a risk...& chance of the tumor being cancer?? Could use some encouraging words...

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Positive_Mental...
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

The good news is that you are in the smallest tumor grading group:

  • T1 means the tumor is 7 cm or less and is limited to the kidney.
  • T1a means the tumor more than 4 cm or less in greatest dimension, limited to the kidney.
  • T1b means the tumor is more than 4 cm but not more than 7 cm and is limited to the kidney.

Do you know if the tumor has extended beyond the kidney?  If it has not, you should be OK.  Here is a link to a tumor grading system:

https://www.roswellpark.org/cancer/kidney/diagnosis/staging

I had a 3 cm tumor that was partially adhered to a vein.  I had an open partial nephrectomy in 2014 without any issues.  The doctor preserved 95% of my right kidney, which was, before surgery, slightly larger than my left kidney. Now my kidneys are symmetrical!.

You will learn a lot more after the surgery and they do the biopsy.  It is easy for me to say now (I was a nervous wreck prior to surgery), but try to relax and trust your medical team.  In my limited experience and in my humble opinion, a less than 7 cm tumor confined to the kidney is a routine surgery.  There will be some pain and discomfort after the surgery, but nothing major.

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

Thanks for the info...I am trying to remain calm and keep my anxiety in check... thanks for your positivity! 

 

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

In preparation for my surgery are there any dietary changes I should make? And pre & post op...does smoking cannibis have the same negative effect as nicotine? I have been unable find any data on causes of kidney cancer... or preventatve life style recommendations.

kiwi68's picture
kiwi68
Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2017

You can speak to your aneathatist or your doctor and please do not lie to them about any habits you have that are relevant to surgery.  When you have an operation for a nephrectomy partial or radical via laproscopy they will fill your abdomen up with CO2 gas.  This gas will cause you to have much difficulty in taking a full breath for several days after the operation.  You will be at risk of developing blood clots and pnemonia.  The CO2 causes some necrosis of the vascular system and affects the phrenic nerve which results in pain to the shoulder tip - usually for 24 hours, sometimes more.  I could easily make my spirometer push all 3 balls up pre surgery and post surgery I didn't have a hope of it.   10 days out I am still winded going up a few flights of stairs. 

 You will need to make a very conscious effort to take deep breaths and may even be given a special little device called a spirometer to see if you can measure your progress and ability.  This is important to prevent pnuemonia.   

Your blood pressure will be kept low during the operations, to prevent blood loss, afterwards you will be on many medications, some narcotics, some anti nausea, anti inflammtory etc.   You will most likely have pressure cuffs on your legs for 24 hours that will inflate and deflate to stop blood clots (which can be deadly or you will just suffer a stroke and survive.. not a good idea) and after that compression stockings.  You will go home with pain medication, which might include narcotics.   If you have issues with opiates with addiction talk to your doctor there are other pain medications that can be prescribed.  I only needed two small doses of Tramadol in hospital and afterwards panadol was enough with an anti infammatory. 

I have forgotten the litres per minute, but 25 % of your heart blood volume goes through each kidney, if you have nephron sparing surgery that kidney has been cut in half or a chunk out and is trying to heal. 

It isn't just the nicotine in cigarettes that causes the issue with health for respiratory function, it is the damage the smoke and all the chemicals do to your circulatory and respiratory system. Smoking maurijana also decreases oxygen levels.   Discuss the amount you have smoked, do smoke and intend to smoke with your surgeon.   It is important to be very honest in answering all questions they ask. 

Smokers have significant health risks going into an operation if they have not ceased smoking for a period of time before hand. THC stays in your system for a fair while.  So you would be best to have that clear of your system before being operated on.  You will be asked about ALL medications you take, over the counter and prescription.  Even some herbal remedies or vitamins need to be stopped for a an operation.   Your medical professionals can also help you wth a cessation program if you need or want help. 

 For your information you might like to peruse this article in a medical journal.   Note the number of drugs that are given to you in a 'short' operation.  Now know that yours will be much longre than taking out a wisdom tooth and that your aneathatists studies to be a doctor and then another 3 years as a student to practice. It is in my opinion one of the most difficult parts of medicine.   Also the reference in the article to coughing, necrosis of tissue, damage to wounds and organs that are healing.  Ask anyone that has had a nephrectomy how they feel about coughing! 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2044.2002.288312.x/full

Good luck with your surgery and your recovery. 

AnnissaP's picture
AnnissaP
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

I have been given some ideas for dietary changes, but none from doctors. They have told me to live my life and do not start smoking lol. Concerning weed.... sorry, but I have no idea. Good luck!!

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

Kidney cancer that's contained doesn't require chemo and/or radiation. Surgery is typically the end of it. Prior to surgery I was not told to alter my diet but he did say 3 meals a day, including breakfast, is a good idea. He also told me to walk at least an hour every day, which I was already doing on the treadmill twice a day for 1/2 hour. I was also given a breathin apparatus to use several times a day to increase lung function/capacity. So my advice would be to walk, eat well, and get the breathing apparatus. Check with doc on pot... no idea.

marosa's picture
marosa
Posts: 333
Joined: Feb 2015

I had a partial neph 3 years ago in my right kidney, 6cm. It was placed on the upper pole so I was able to keep a good part of my kidney even if the tumor was that size.  I had complications but I was unfortunately on the small percentage of people who have complications with an open partial of this size.  Bt it got fixed and here I am 3 years after, living and loving life with all its ups and downs and yes, going thru those scanxiety times like this week when I had my latest check-up but to be honest, now days go by without me thinking of the dreaded "c" word!

They will try a partial. They can never guarantee until they go in and see how it is in there.  Try putting your trust in your doctors if you think you have found the good ones for you.  You will have your life back sonner than you think!  Yes it is scary, yes it no walk in the park but you can do it!

I didn't do any special diet.  I do eat on the healthy side as far as junk food and fried stuff or red meat (very, very rarely) but Im a frenchman's wife and always had and have my glass of wine and don't personally think any other dietary measures other than being reasonably sensible and having a healthy attitude with what you eat (my take on this).  I DO believe that being in good physical shape helps the body to take the strain of that kind of surgery before and after and I don't mean a gym junkie who spends hours pumping iron or running a marathon either.

I was asked to walk 3km every day as soon as I was out of the hospital and Im sure that helped a lot!  I don't know what more to suggest but feel free to ask and I'll tell you from my personal experience.  Wishing you all the best!

Supersum's picture
Supersum
Posts: 109
Joined: Aug 2017

If you read two recent posts about post-op experiences you would have learned that constipation can be an issue, and be much more serious than any usual bout of constipation we endure.

I recommend eating your fill of organic pitted prunes to keep everything moving (spit out the pits). You are in a better situation that the others because you can start eating them straight after the operation. Don't worry if they taste good or bad, just eat them as long as you don't have an aversion to them, they are medicine.

 

Supersum's picture
Supersum
Posts: 109
Joined: Aug 2017

Some people smoke cannabis by mixing it with tobacco.

Not sure what you mean about being unable to find data on causes of kidney cancer.

Here is the Mayo Clinic's factors that can increase the risk of kidney cancer including:

- Older age. Your risk of kidney cancer increases as you age.

- Smoking. Smokers have a greater risk of kidney cancer than nonsmokers do. The risk decreases after you quit.

- Obesity. People who are obese have a higher risk of kidney cancer than people who are considered average weight.

- High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure increases your risk of kidney cancer.

- Treatment for kidney failure. People who receive long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure have a greater risk of developing kidney cancer.

- Certain inherited syndromes. People who are born with certain inherited syndromes may have an increased risk of kidney cancer, such as those who have von Hippel-Lindau disease, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma or familial renal cancer.

- Family history of kidney cancer. Even in the absence of an inherited syndrome, people who have a strong family history of renal cell cancer have a greater risk of kidney cancer.

- Exposure to certain substances in the workplace. This might include, for example, exposure to cadmium or specific herbicides.

If you want to get high on cannabis can't you take the oil or mix it with some foods to cook and eat?

People with cancer use cannabis to deal with pain issues but if I ever reach for it I don't intend to smoke it.

You should also be aware that people with kidney cancer have a higher rate of developing other cancers than the general population.

Here is some advice about lifestyle change from cancer.org

***********

At this time, not enough is known about kidney cancer to say for sure if there are things you can do that will be helpful. Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, being active, and staying at a healthy weight may help, but no one knows for sure. Still, we do know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of kidney cancer or other cancers.

...

For many people, a diagnosis of cancer helps them focus on their health in ways they may not have thought much about in the past. Are there things you could do that might make you healthier? Maybe you could try to eat better or get more exercise. Maybe you could cut down on alcohol, or give up tobacco. Even things like keeping your stress level under control may help. Now is a good time to think about making changes that can have positive effects for the rest of your life. You will feel better and you will also be healthier.

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/kidney-cancer/after-treatment/follow-up.html

***********

If you are at the upper end of your age range and you want to puff away for another 10 or 15 years then that would be up to you. But don't forget that this can bring about other conditions such as emphysema.

If you just want to get the high or manage any pain which might emerge then I am fairly sure there are other ways to take it besides smoking it, although I am not an expert in this area (but I certainly intend to learn if the need arises).

Retcenturion's picture
Retcenturion
Posts: 240
Joined: Mar 2017

Sorry to hear your diagnosis. I'm 6 months out from full Neph of left kidney. There are many successful stories here, you can click on each persons profile for some great news on people living with cancer. Go through some past posts there are a lot of newbies like me with useful tips prior to surgery. Get as much info as you can. The surgery is bad no sugar coating it, but nowhere near you imagine right now. If any questions come up ask... Someone will answer for you. Take a breath.... your not alone here

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

I am so grateful to have found this Network!!! I believe nothing happens by chance..and the information you all have shared with me is a blessing & has helped me to cope & calm my "surgxiety" (lol Marosa). My surgery is scheduled for 12/12 and I will prepare my body for this journey the best that I can and pray for the best results.  I am curious about one thing..maybe I'm in the denial phase..but does anyone know of cases when kidney tumors larger than 2cm were benign?  I realize the probability is that larger tumors are cancer and regardless need to be removed, but if benign is there a need to have a radical neph rather than preserve the kidney?  Thanks again to all, to know I am not alone & can reach out to others who have walked this path is a true blessing! 

 

AnnissaP's picture
AnnissaP
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

I was told there is a 20% chance it may not be cancer. You could be part of that group!!!!

kiwi68's picture
kiwi68
Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2017

but that just means you need be a little more relieved that any future scans might be lesser or not needed.   From reading this board, it would seem you will still need the operation because a growing benign tumour will still destroy the kidney and could turn cancerous and the whole biopsy thing to prove it isn't RCC or other form of carcinoma is a bit dodgy as to false negatives and poor sample selection. 

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

I had a deep tissue massage for my birthday about 1 week after the CT Scan which is when I was diagnosed..now  feels like I can feel the tumor (6cm, mid pole, encapsulated) more.. I have no pain.  I have read that there has been no conclusive findings on if deep tissue massages can spread cancer..does anyone have any information yay or nay?? I'm having massage remorse...and freaking out! 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

I'm no expert on massages but I doubt it would spread cancer. And I too was told that there's always a chance it's benign. We've had people on this forum whose turned out to be an oncocytoma. May yours be that too!

I found this that may lessen your anxiety. The only reason why they suggest you avoid deep tissue massages is because of bruising and soreness. Otherwise research does not back up that massages contribute to mets.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131025091443.htm

marosa's picture
marosa
Posts: 333
Joined: Feb 2015

If massages were bad I would probably have turned into one big blob! Did you ever see that very old and scary movie? lol   In my part of the woods (country where I live) you can still enjoy a good massage at reasonable prices and so whenever possible I treat myself. Did before and have done after (diagnosis and surgery).

I so wish 12/12 and your surgery are fast behind you because after that the anxiety levels go way down!  You will enjoy your Xmas holidays!  Hoping these days pass by fast for you. I feel you, I was there too.

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

Hi Marosa (my Angel),

Thank you for peeling me off the ceiling!!! I feel a connection with you..kindred Spirits & in the 6cm club..You are my reality check and having someone who gets this roller coaster of emotions and anxiety is nothing short of Blessing! Thanks for giving me some levity and encouragement! I can't wait until this is behind me.

kiwi68's picture
kiwi68
Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2017

Hi, don't fear on your massage.  The kidney is placed up under the ribs at the back and under lots of other organs. (Which will all get shuffled and rumbled during the operation) and your massage would not have been 'massaging' your kidney.   They are up there for good reason, lots of blood flows through them a ruptured kidney is a true medcial emergency. 

 

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

My surgery is scheduled on 12/12 & my anxiety seems to get worse daily...my surgery  is scheduled for a partial neph however my surgeon has indicated a radical might be necessary and this is causing my anxiety...is the recovery the same with a partial or radical neph?  and are there any dietary restrictions or any type of restrictions to live with one kidney? I am an optimist, but I haven't seen many comments with anyone having a 6cm partial neph.  I'm trying to prepare myself, if a radical neph is necessary, but the unknown is overwhelming.  I'm meditating daily to try and keep the anxiety in check but any pre op suggestions are appreciated.

AnnissaP's picture
AnnissaP
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

I had surgery Nov.7th. Was scheduled as a partial but ended up losing the whole kidney. From what I read, recovery is diff when radical nephrectomy is involved. Either way, let us be glad the tumor will be gone!!! I was warned it could turn in to a radical but was still shocked when told the news. Concerning food, my doc said a heart healthy diet is a kidney friendly diet. He also said do not start smoking (I don't anyway). For me, life has changed. I want to eat better. I want to take care of my remaining kidney. Ask all the questions you want so you know exactly what to expect. It has been a tough road, but again, better than the alternative. Leading up to surgery I kept busy and lived life!!! I worked, exercised, danced A LOT and laughed a lot. Please do what makes you feel good and at peace. You are number 1 right now!!! Do what is best for you. Take care!!!

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

Thanks Annissa for your

advice ..."live life" &  Should I have to lose the whole kidney there is the silver lining, that the tumor will be gone and is better than the alternative.  Congrats on your path report! Sounds like you're on your way..wishing you the best!

KrisG's picture
KrisG
Posts: 8
Joined: Jul 2017

Hi.

I had a Laproscopic Robotic Partial Nephrectomy on 11/20/17 for a 2.5cm RCC and am basically about 14 or 15 days post op now. Doing quite well. I've taken it very easy during these 2 weeks where I was basically confined to the house (no driving allowed). Up out of bed daily, granted I only got dressed into regular clothing twice during this time...soft PJ's & Loungewear are the best for the recoperative stage. I have to be off work for a total of 6 weeks. Weight lifting restriction of 10# or less for 6 weeks. I think I really surprised my Surgeon and his partner...as they initially didn't think surgical removal was the option for me given my age & weight. Since this all started back at the end of March...I've lost 45#. I proved them wrong...Surgeon was ever so pleased with how well I'm doing at my post op check yesterday. (Surgeon supported my decision for the surgery 100% once I made it. Never again pushed for the Cryoablation Treatment.) 

As others have stated...take care & be diligent with your breathing. The first 5-6 days, I was lucky to get that Inspirometer to 1000ml. But after that I was hitting 2000ml & beyond. Coughing that first 1 1/2 wks was a B*tch, let me tell you...but cough if you need too, don't avoid it. It's a very necessary thing to do to help keep the lungs clear. Now I can cough without holding my incisions and no pain.

And yes, constipation can be a problem if you let things get out of hand. Your bowels basically go to sleep during the surgery process and they usually are slow to wake back up. Add in the use of narcotic analgesics and things caan get backed up quickly. Prune Juice, Prunes, Apricots are all natural laxatives. Stool Softeners (Colace), Miralax, Senekot, Milk of Magnesia, etc are all OTC medications that can add in getting things moving again. My Dr gave me Stool Softeners & Milk of Mag while I was in the hospital (I refused the suppository). Your Dr would know best which ones you might need to take.

I do not need any Chemo nor Radiation...Surgery was the cure/treament. I was told yesterday that I won't see my Cancer return in my lifetime. (I'm 62)

Good luck to you with your surgery. Keep your thoughts positive.

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

I had my pre op today and was told that when released from the hospital I may still require a drain tube..I'm not feeling real comfortable With the idea...has anyone gone home after surgery with a drainage tube? If so, any insight into that experience would be greatly appreciated..

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

An adjunct to my previous question...in addition to possibly having a drainage tube upon release from the hospital, I was also told the surgical procedure may require the partail or complete removal of a rib... has anyone experienced either? If so, any insight is appreciated.

AnnissaP's picture
AnnissaP
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

Hi. I did not have either, but I know people on here have. I hope they can answer your questions for you. They gave me a lot of diff possible scenarios as well. It depends on how the actual surgery goes bc things can and do change once they are in there. Good luck!!

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

There are so many variables & unknowns with this! I guess the Drs. have to give you all possible scenarios..but it sure does not help in giving you peace of mind...my faith is being put to the test...hoping & praying for the best results. I just wondered if the drainage and rib removal were the norm or exception..I'm concluding exception as no one has indicated they have experienced either, which is good!

stub1969's picture
stub1969
Posts: 917
Joined: Jul 2016

Let me say first and foremost, I know where you are coming from.  In my original CT and US my tumor was measured at about 6 cm.  When they took it out and measured it pathology came back as 5.3 cm at greatest dimension.  From the get go, my surgeon told me his intention was to do a partial, BUT he did say that if he ran into some trouble or wasn't pleased with how the tumor looked when he was taking it out, he would go with a full.  I was fortunate that everything worked out well and I had a partial.

Surgery was on a Friday and I was discharged Saturday afternoon.  Saturday morning I remember my drain tube stll draining fluid.  Doctor asked if I was okay with going home with the tube still in--my wife and I looked at each other and said "no" at the same time.  Doctor got a kick out of that.  He was prepared to keep me another day just to keep the tube in if needed.  Luckily I didn't need another day and they removed the tube; I went home a couple hours later.

Good luck on Tuesday.  Update us when you feel up to it.

Stub

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

I went home with a drain and it was in for a week. After a while you don't even know it's there. I would have preferred not to have it but I'm glad I did because I woudln't have wanted all that junk draining into my abdomen.

BeBlessed
Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2017

I had my surgery on 12/12 with the best possible outcome!! The 6cm tumor was successfully removed with an Open Partial Neph. (Yippie!!!) ... My story got better yesterday when I received my path report which indicated the tumor was an Oncocytoma which is a rare benign kidney tumor!! Needless to say my prayers were answered.  Per my surgeon no further treatment is necessary with exception of a surgical follow up & a CT Scan in 6 months to check the health of my remaining partial kidney. I would like to thank each and everyone of you for helping me through this journey. This has truly been a life changing experience..One thing I would like to share with any newbies joining this forum would be to ALWAYS explore all of your options & get a second medical opinion on your medical treatment. My first medical/surgical Urologist consult I was told that due the size of my tumor a full neph was recommended and that the tumor was cancer (which I'm told is the standard). I am the ultimate optimist & a very Spiritual person so fortunately I found a surgeon who Believed as I did. Everyone on this Forum who shared their experience, please know you provided me with comfort of knowing I wasn't alone and the encouragement of knowing I would be okay, whatever the outcome was. You are all a blessing!  I am in recovery mode and so far so good. I am following the advice of you all and taking it slow...I would like to know how long recovery took for others who had an open partial neph, to heal internally & resume normal activities.. I realize each person is different, but I would like to have realistic expectations. Thanks again to all, Happy Holidays & Be Blessed!!

AnnissaP's picture
AnnissaP
Posts: 632
Joined: Sep 2017

WOW!! Congratulations are in order!!! Whew. You are very fortunate that it was not cancer. I had a radical nephrectomy and am 6 wks out now. I will return to work next week. I think 6 to 8 weeks is the gold standard, but I am sure you will hear all diff timelines!!! I am very happy for you! Have a wonderful Christmas!!! Oh and great advice you gave (def saved me too).... If you are unsure, get a 2nd opinion.

Bay Area Guy's picture
Bay Area Guy
Posts: 514
Joined: Jun 2016

That result is absolutely far out.  Congratulations!

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

Wow, so thrilled for you. That is truly wonderful news. Congratulation and now you can relax and enjoy the holidays :)

Wehavenotimeatall
Posts: 489
Joined: Aug 2017

well done you

everybodu wishes  could happen to them 

but you were the lucky one

congrats

five to six weeks but you may bounce back quicker as your system was not fighting cancer before hand

happy holidays to you

 

Angiebby75's picture
Angiebby75
Posts: 209
Joined: Aug 2017

Wow what a true blessing. You will give hope to many. Congratulations

kiwi68's picture
kiwi68
Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2017

Glad to see you posting with such positivity and happiness.  I can't speak to the open part of the surgery but re the partial nephrectomy, my surgeon said 10 - 20 days to take it easy there is a risk of a clot, kind of like a scab coming loose and some bleeding - which they can fix with ablation if needed. Since your kidney has been sutured you want to ensure you take it easy no risk of falls or major injury.  So no climbing ladders to decorate with lights.   At 4 week check up he said I was good to do all my normal activities and today 6 weeks out I was happily lugging around 20kg fuel cannisters to pour into boats and cooking Christmas breakfast and lunch.  Abdominal swelling seems to have dissapeared between week 4 and 5 this week seems just normal old tummy, swelling was definately present for 3 week with all the rummaging around and moving and shoving other organs out of the way and normal clothes were tight and uncomfortable. 

hardo718's picture
hardo718
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

Lucky you!

Now get out there and celebrate life.

Donna~

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