Kidney cancer is assigned by combining the T, N, and M classifications.
Stage I: The tumor at this nascent stage is 7 cm or even smaller and is confined to the kidney. Also, this stage indicates the tumor has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs (T1, N0, M0).
Stage II: The tumor is larger than 7 cm and is still located in the kidney. This means the tumor has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs (T2, N0, M0).
Stage III: During this stage, either of these conditions may take place:
- A tumor is located only in the kidney.
- Tumor has spread to the regional lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body (T1 or T2, N1, M0).
- The tumor has grown into major veins or tissues and may or may not have spread to regional lymph nodes. It has not yet spread to other parts of the body (T3, any N, M0).
Stage IV: Either of these conditions may take place:
- The tumor has spread to the adrenal gland and to lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body (T4, any N, M0).
- The tumor has spread to any other organ, such as the lungs, bones or the brain (any T, any N, M1).
Recurrent: When cancer comes back after treatment, it is termed as recurrent cancer. During this stage, cancer may develop in the kidney area or in another part of the body.