What is mid-grade cancer?
July 23, 2007 3:27 PM   Subscribe

What is mid-grade cancer?

My father was just diagnosed with mid-grade cancer on his kidney. What is mid-grade cancer? I could not get a straight answer out of my parents.
posted by jasonspaceman to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
This is with specific regard to pediatric brain tumors, but I believe it would apply across the board:

"The treatment and prognosis depends on the type, grade, and location of the tumor. Type and location are explained above paragraphs. The grade of the tumor indicates the degree of malignancy: its tendency to spread, its growth rate, and its similarity to normal cells when viewed under a microscope. Tumors with distinct borders are considered "grade I", are sometimes referred to as benign or mildly malignant. These tumors either do not grow or grow very slowly. Infiltrating tumors are those that tend to grow into surrounding tissue. Of the infiltrating tumors, the terms low-grade, mid-grade, and high-grade are frequently used. A "high grade" tumor is considered highly malignant. However, the exact system used to grade tumors varies with each specific family of tumors."

From here.
posted by MeetMegan at 3:47 PM on July 23, 2007

To help you Google, most kidney cancers are renal cell cancers. The grade describes the appearance of the nuclei of the cancer cells, and is an important factor in determining prognosis, along with stage (which describes the size of the tumor and how far it has spread.) More information on tumor grading.

Like most such scales, the lower, the better. But "mid-grade" is a very general description, not a precise diagnosis. I bet your folks are still trying to mentally process all of the details that the doctor told them.

NCI's patient guide for renal cell carcinoma is very through yet understandable.
posted by desuetude at 4:05 PM on July 23, 2007

I'm awfully sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis. This must be a very difficult time for you all.

I am not a doctor. I cannot give you any useful information about your father's current condition or prognosis. I can just point you to a few sources I found through Google. PLEASE don't read any of this material and assume the worst about your father's condition. I hope your family and his medical team can fully discuss his treatment options and prognosis.

A patient's prognosis is affected by:

1) The stage of the cancer -- that is, whether it is still localized within the original organ or whether it has spread. Typically, stage 1 and 2 are localized, giving the best prognosis, stage 3 indicates the tumour has spread to a nearby lymph node, and stage 4 shows cancer in the surrounding tissue or other parts of the body. Only the medical team can tell you what stage your father is in.

2) The grade reflects the strength of the cancer: how different the cancerous cells look from normal organ cells under the microscope and how likely the cancer is to spread. Kidney cancer is usually graded by the Fuhrman system, which does not use the "mid-grade" indicator. In this system, grade 1 is least "cancer-like" and aggressive and is associated with the best outcome, while grade 4 is the worst. Your father may be assessed as grade 2 or 3 if you have heard his cancer called mid-grade -- or they may be using a different system. Please note that the Cornell page I linked below says that grade may not be an accurate predictor of prognosis in some types of kidney cancer.

Cornell University on kidney cancer, staging and grading

Cancer Research UK on statistics and prognosis for kidney cancer
posted by maudlin at 4:08 PM on July 23, 2007

Thank you all for your info. He's already been through prostate cancer so hopefully he can fight this off too.
posted by jasonspaceman at 6:13 PM on July 23, 2007

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