Kidney Cancer Staging

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, correct staging of the disease is an important aspect of determining a treatment plan.

The most common form of kidney cancer is known as renal cell carcinoma (RCC). RCC generally grows as a single tumor in the kidney. When a kidney cancer diagnosis is determined, the next step is assessing the stage of cancer in order to identify appropriate treatment options.

The American Joint Committee on Cancer has developed a common staging system for kidney cancer – the TNM system.

T indicates the size of the main (primary) tumor and whether it has grown into nearby areas.

N describes the extent of spread to nearby (regional) lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-sized collections of immune system cells to which cancers often spread first.

M indicates whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. The most common sites of metastasis are to the lungs, bones, liver, brain and distant lymph nodes.

Each of these three factors is then scored in further detail based on the severity of growth and spread. Read more about kidney cancer staging here.

CyberKnife® is an advanced technology that can treat some tumors in the kidney. St. Louis CyberKnife treats kidney tumors with stereotactic body radiation therapy using the CyberKnife system. To learn more about this nonsurgical approach, visit our conditions treated page.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.