Carolinas HealthCare System

Staging is a crucial component in helping to determine the best treatment for you, how likely it is that your tumor will respond to treatment and your chance of recovery.

Through a staging system called TNM (tumor, node and metastasis), your physician will assess how large the tumor is and where it’s located, and if it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

All of the TNM information is combined to come up with an overall stage for each patient. Kidney cancer can range from stage I to IV.

  • Stage I: The tumor is 7 cm or smaller and has not spread beyond the kidney to lymph nodes or other organs.
  • Stage II: The tumor is larger than 7 cm and is confined to the kidney; no lymph nodes or other organs are involved.
  • Stage III: The tumor (which can be any size) has spread to nearby lymph nodes; or the tumor has grown into major veins or tissue surrounding the kidney and may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes. In either case, no other parts of the body are involved.
  • Stage IV: The tumor has spread beyond the tissue surrounding the kidneys and has grown into the adrenal gland, in some cases to lymph nodes, but has not affected other parts of the body; OR, the tumor has spread to another organ, such as the lungs or brain.