34F possible diagnosis

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Good Evening All

I am a 34F with a 2.5 / 2.8cm (there have been different references to the size) kidney mass which was an incidental finding. Partial nephrectomy has been recommended due to 75% chance mass is cancerous, which has been a lot to take in. It is expected to be contained in the kidney

Some wisdom would be much appreciated - Is it common practice to have surgery in absence of a biopsy? And has anyone else had a mass of this size and had the surgery? I am aware that the ablation alternative is minor surgery in comparison but my understanding is the risk of recurrence is higher. So many thoughts, if anyone has any similar experiences they can share I would be most grateful


  • Hi my tumour was similar size (3cm) found incidentally in another scan. I then had a further CT scan with contrast and about 6 weeks later had a partial nephrectomy. No mention of a biopsy as they are always pretty certain it is cancer. After a few initial complications I recovered  very quickly physically from my robotic surgery and a couple of months later I really couldn’t tell I had had surgery. 17 months on I am still cancer free ( tumour was grade 2  and contained with clear margins). Was in hospital 4 nights due to a complication but as a rule you are out the next day. Not even a scar to be seen now and had seven incisions! Hope this helps. 

  • Is it common practice to have surgery in absence of a biopsy?

    Yes, from what people have posted here, many have a nephrectomy and then a diagnosis after.  I can't get my head around it.  It must be such a difficult decision.  

    Also, my understanding was that they didn't normally operate on tumors smaller than 4cm, just monitor them.  

    Mine spread before discovery, so too late for these options for me.  This is what I've read from others' experience.  

    I wouldn't worry about the incidental finding.  It's very common with kidney cancer becauuse it frequently causes no symptoms.  It's called "the silent one". 

  • Hi Cilla

    Thank you for sharing your experience and for the reassurance that the procedure has been effective which is of course the desired outcome.  Do you mind me asking what kind of complications you had? I do have worries about the complexity of the surgery but hoping once I have had the pre-surgery assessment that will alleviate some of that. Also, what tests did you have to undergo at that appointment? I have  seen from reading online that they can be quite wide ranging. So amazing that the scar healed nicely and that really pleased to hear the surgery has worked for you, it’s give me the hope for a positive outcome. Thanks again for your helpful response 

  • Hi Mmum, sorry to hear that the cancer has spread before discovery for you. I find it baffling how these scans are not routinely offered, don’t get me wrong we are so fortunate for the nhs but there are so many cases of incidental finding and when things are further down the line and I find that hard to grapple with. Anyway rant over, and thank you for reaching out to help me when you are dealing with your own journey

    I wasn’t aware that they didn’t normally operate if below 4cm but it has been reiterated that it is small, which makes it a bit more grey and that the other options such as monitoring are there, but just not recommended because of my age. I wish I knew at this point how long it had been there for, it’s mind boggling 

    I am trying to keep the worrying at bay where I can. Some days are better than others! Thank you for sharing 

  • Hi, my only complication was an internal bleed to my kidney artery. I started to feel very very sick during the first night. I didn’t sleep at all and the pain was extreme. The next day when the day shift came on  duty a nurse tried to get me out of bed, at my request, I passed out and when I came round was booked in for a CT scan. A bleed was discovered and an ablation was performed. After that I recovered very quickly. It was a simple procedure but done as an  emergency at another hospital. Don’t be worried about this as my operation was more complicated due to me have three kidney arteries in the affected kidney instead of two. They only discovered the third during surgery. I think what happened to me was pretty rare so don’t worry about that. Honestly if you looked at my tummy now it’s flatter and smoother than before the op, and I am 58 now ha ha

  • Dear Sunflower. I am week four from a partial nephrectomy. I had the initial CT scans which determined that I had a tumour. It was small. I did not have the a biopsy first and had robotic surgery on the 13.6.2024. Having the surgery is a huge undertaking but the people on here will guide you through it. I was in hospital for one night as they needed the beds. Apart from infected incisions I am healing well. I still feel emotional and I haven’t had my follow up with the surgeon yet.

  • Morning Cilla, oh don’t that sounds absolutely awful and must not have been easy to go through what with everything else as well. Must admit a bleed is one of those complications I had looked into. But it is all about the balancing the pros and cons of surgery and I think when it’s for something like cancer it’s a risk I am willing to take. Dare I say it! The main thing is that it was removed and you are now doing well. Glad to hear your tummy is at its peak as a silver lining, not sure il be able to say the same haha!  

  • Morning EJ861, how are you recovering now and any news on the follow up? Hopefully your incisions and improving and if you are still waiting you are nearly there with dealing with the unknowns. It’s completely understandable to feel emotional, it really does take its toll emotionally and been finding it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster dealing with this. Were you also in the same position where it was a possible diagnosis but not confirmed? It really does help understanding the experience that others have had too so appreciate you sharing with me 

  • Hi again, it was well worth it and as soon as I had the embolisation the bleed and pain stopped immediately. That procedure didn’t hurt and was not invasive really so don’t even worry about that. I was worried about frightening you so I am glad you replied. I think with any operation, even simple ones they explain the risk of bleeding. Take care x

  • Thanks Cilla, been a busy couple of days! Not at all, I would rather have all the information to know what I’m signing up for. Your messages have helped. All the best x