Kidney cancer occurs when cancerous cells begin to grow and multiply within the kidney. Stage 4 kidney cancer involves the growth of tumors throughout the body and is the most difficult stage to treat.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that
In stage 4 kidney cancer, tumors may have grown outside the kidney and into the adrenal glands or lymph nodes, as well as other organs. Survival rates for stage 4 kidney cancer are lower than other stages of the condition. However, treatments are available and the outlook
This article discusses how staging for kidney cancer works and the symptoms, outlook, and treatment options for stage 4 kidney cancer.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Following kidney cancer diagnosis, doctors evaluate each person to determine whether the cancer has spread beyond the kidneys. Knowing how much the cancer has spread
There are 4 stages of kidney cancer, with stage 4 being the most severe. These stages include:
- Stage 1: The tumor remains small and within the kidney.
- Stage 2: The tumor has grown over 7 centimeters but remains with the kidney.
- Stage 3: The main tumor may have spread into nearby veins or lymph nodes.
- Stage 4: The main tumor may be growing outside the kidney or into the adrenal glands, and it may or may not have spread to lymph nodes and other organs.
The stages of kidney cancer may also help to indicate the likelihood of survival. Individuals in the early stages of kidney cancer have a higher chance of responding to treatment than those in stage 4. However, healthcare professionals also assess other factors when determining a person’s outlook.
- unexpected weight loss
- fever that does not go away and is not caused by an infection
- pain in the lower back on one side
- blood in the urine
- a lump in the abdomen or lower back
Anyone experiencing symptoms of kidney cancer should visit a medical professional for a full evaluation.
People living with stage 4 kidney cancer should share new or existing symptoms they are experiencing with their doctor. A doctor can recommend medications and other treatments to relieve pain and manage other symptoms.
The outlook for stage 4 kidney cancer depends on the individual and how far the cancer has already spread before they start treatment.
A 2019 Canadian study analyzed
Acccording to the ACS, if the cancer has spread to distant body parts, a person may have a
However, they also note that people who receive a kidney cancer diagnosis now may have a better outlook, as the 5-year survival rates are based on data from 2011-2017.
Furthermore, healthcare professionals also assess other factors when determining a person’s outlook, such as overall health, age, and how well the cancer responds to treatment.
There is no single treatment for stage 4 kidney cancer. Treatment depends on the individual and how far the cancer has spread.
Some individuals with stage 4 kidney cancer
In addition to immunotherapy, targeted therapy is a common treatment option for stage 4 kidney cancer. This therapy
People may also choose to enroll in a clinical trial, which tests new treatments that are not yet available to the public or combines existing treatments. A person can speak with a doctor to learn more about clinical trials that may benefit them.
Kidney cancer involves the growth of cancerous cells within the kidney. As the disease progresses, cancerous cells may form tumors that spread to other parts of the body.
The stages of kidney cancer indicate how much the disease has spread. Stage 4 is the most advanced form of kidney cancer, and it may involve the spread of tumors to lymph nodes and other organs.
Individuals living with stage 4 kidney cancer should work with a doctor to learn more about their treatment options and individual outlook. A healthcare professional may also recommend ways to manage symptoms in this stage of cancer.