If the cancer had metasticized to a remote location, it would have invaded lymph nodes within the kidneys and surrounding areas first. If an X-ray and CT show no evidence of cancer in the surrounding area then the staging indicates a small tumor within the kidney with no evidence of cancer cells beyond the kidney. Cancer cells don't teleport from one area to another. They either progress through adjoining areas or are transported to remote area through the lymphatic system starting with the sentinal node, which is the one closest to the tumor.
Clear Cell, Kidney Cancer Questions
Asked by RnayRiv on Tuesday, August 14, 2012
How do the doctors know you are stage 1 if they do not test your near by lymph nodes or scan your entire body and know for sure cancer is not anywhere else. My tumor was small and my chest xray was clear and abdominal ct looked fine so thats why I'm stage 1. I was also told that I have a suspicious acessorry spleen, (what ever that is) but it has never been looked into.
4 Answers from the Community
Do you have a copy of your test results? TNM is the most common system for cancer staging. A result of T1N0M0 is stage 1, meaning the primary tumor is 7cm or less, there is no spread to lymph nodes and no spread to other organs. This information would have been obtained from your CT with or without an accompanying needle biopsy.
Usually, kidney tumors don't spread when they are quite small. Sentinel lymph node tests are not done for renal cell carcinoma. A visual inspection of the surgical area is the norm. Lymph nodes are not removed and tested unless they definitely appear to be cancerous.
You should have received CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis before surgery to make sure there was no visible disease outside the kidney. If you missed any of those three scans (which would usually all be done at the same time), make sure you get them now. A chest x-ray is NOT adequate to rule out lung metastases (spread of the cancer to the lungs).
If your tumor was small enough to be classified Stage I, it is highly unlikely that it will come back anywhere. Something like 95 percent of Stage I patients remain free of renal cell carcinoma for the rest of their lives. You should have follow-up and occasional CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis for at least five years. If anything suspicious shows up or if you develop any kind of symptoms -- I mean anything, aches and pains, fever, a sore leg, a sinus problem, anything -- that cannot be explained or eliminated, you probably want to get scanned to rule out a recurrence of the cancer. Kidney cancer can be tricky and can come back even when it is statistically unlikely.
According to Wikipedia, an accessory spleen is "a small nodule of splenic tissue found apart from the main body of the spleen."