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Staging of kidney cancers

As discussed with other malignancies, the tumour, node and metastases system stages renal cell carcinomas (RCC) at four intervals:

T1: Tumours that are confined to the kidney without evidence of local invasion; no lymph node involvement and absence of distant disease. T1a are those that are <4cm. T1b are those that are between 4 and 7cm.

T2: Tumours confined to the kidney larger that 7cm with no evidence of local invasion; no lymph node involvement and absence of distant disease

T3: Tumours extend into the fat surrounding the kidney, into the renal vein, and/or the vena cava (the main vein that carries blood from the body back to the heart).

T4: Tumours that invade beyond the fat around the kidney or into the adrenal gland.

Kidney tumours can also spread to lymph node (N) and to other parts of the body as secondaries (metastases - M) such as lungs, bones, and to the liver.

There are 4 stages depending on the size of the cancer and whether it has spread or not.

  • Stage 1: Any T1 tumour without lymph node spread or metastases.
  • Stage 2: Any T2 tumour without lymph node spread or metastases.
  • Stage 3: The tumour has spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: The tumour has produced metastases.