Symptoms, Prognosis & Treatment For Stage 3 Kidney Cancer

Submitted by Nic on November 19, 2012

Kidney cancer, as the name suggests is a type of cancer that originated in your kidneys. Like all other types of cancers, kidney cancer too is classified by its stages, so that a doctor can determine the reach of the malignancy and decide on the best possible treatment options.

What is Stage 3 Kidney Cancer?

In case a doctor diagnoses a patient with stage 3 kidney cancer, it probably means that -

  • The tumor is more than 7 centimeters across
  • The cancer has spread to the adrenal gland or one of the major veins nearby
  • There is no more than one neighboring lymph node that contains the cancer cells

Stage 3 kidney cancer is considered more serious and advances as compared to its earlier stages.

Symptoms of Stage 3 Kidney Cancer

Most patients suffering from kidney cancer do not even realize it for a while, because there are no symptoms evident in the initial stages. However, as the condition enters the third stage, patients may observe:

  • Presence of blood in the urine, giving it in pinkish, reddish or cola-like appearance
  • Constance back pain just under the ribs that does not abate even after a while
  • Significant weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Fatigue
  • Sporadic and recurrent fever

It is important to visit a doctor as soon as the above symptoms are noticed. The doctor may advise the patient to undergo certain tests for an accurate diagnosis. Some of the tests that the physician may order include -

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Imaging tests like Ultrasounds, Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Biopsies, where samples of kidney tissue are obtained and tested in a lab


Unfortunately, the prognosis for patients suffering from this advanced form of cancer is not very encouraging. Stage 3 kidney cancer survival rates drop down to 40% to 70% for 5 years. Therefore to increase the chances for recovery, it is essential to start the treatment as soon as possible.


A patient suffering from stage 3 kidney cancer treatment will need to undergo surgery as soon as possible. If the tumor is not too big, the doctor can perform a partial nephrectomy, where the tumor and a small portion of nearby kidney tissue are removed.

If the tumor is large, the doctor will have to perform a nephrectomy where the entire kidney is removed. At times, the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue may also be taken out.

There are some patients who cannot undergo surgery for various reasons and in such instances doctors perform cryo-ablation or radiofrequency ablation to kill the cancer cells.

Some of the additional treatment options that may also be necessary as a part of stage 3 kidney cancer include -

  • Biological therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

Kidney cancer is a very serious health condition and therefore, it should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.


  • Lam JS, Shvarts O, Pantuck AJ. Changing concepts in the surgical management of renal cell carcinoma. European Urology. 2004;45:692-705
  • Tsui KH, Shvarts O, Smith RB, et al. Prognostic indicators for renal cell carcinoma: a multivariate analysis of 643 patients using the revised 1997 TNM staging criteria. Journal of Urology. 2000;163(4):1090-5.
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