How Curable is Kidney Cancer

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Sometime kidney cancers are accidentally diagnosed when patients take imaging tests for other reasons. And many of these cancers don’t cause any symptoms even without treatment. Some are also very small in size (less than 3 cm (about 1.18 inches) in diameter). For such cases, the treatment may be unnecessary, particularly true if you’re unwell or older. But the cancer will be continuously monitored.

As mentioned before, the cancer is likely to be cured if caught earlier – especially if it has not spread yet or if it is still completely inside the kidney.

In TNM staging system, early kidney cancer includes ‘T1, N0, M0’ and ‘T2, N0, M0’ in which the cancer cells are still completely inside the kidney and there is no any lymph node affected. In these stages, the cancer is usually able to be cured by surgery that removes some or the entire kidney.

  1. T1 means the diameter of the tumor is less than 2.8 inches (7 cm). And T2 describes that the tumor is bigger in size (larger than 2.8 inches), but it also hasn’t spread out of the kidney.
  2. N0 means the cancer cells are not found in any lymph node! N1 is a condition of when cancer cells are found in one lymph node. And N2 is when two or more lymph nodes have been affected.
  3. M0 means there is no metastasis or the cancer has not spread to another part of the body. And M1 is a condition of when the cancer has spread.

In the number stages, stage I and stage II are considered for early kidney cancer. According to the Cancer Research UK, stage I and II are often successfully cured with surgery, particularly true if the grade of the cancer is lower. Again, lower grade means the chance of the cancer to recur is lower too.

T3 and stage III kidney cancers are more difficult to treat. But they may also be cured if it is possible to get rid of all the cancer.

Metastasis stage (T4, N2, M1 or stage IV) is the most difficult to treat. When the cancer has spread, it is usually incurable. For such case, the goal of the treatment is to slow the progression of the cancer and treat the symptoms. But it should also be possible to improve the quality of life of patients.

The age and overall health of patient may also have an effect. Younger patients are likely to respond the treatment better. And if you’re feeling unwell, you may need to delay the treatment or unable to take particular cancer treatments.

However remember that each case is unique. There is no any statistic that can exactly tell you what will happen.

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