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Survival

Read detailed information about the survival rates for different stages of kidney cancer.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by stage

There are no UK-wide statistics available for different stages of kidney cancer or particular treatments.

Survival statistics are available for each stage of kidney cancer in one area of England. These figures are for men and women diagnosed between 2002 and 2006. 

The available statistics seem to show that the 5 year survival for stage 2 kidney cancer is better than it is for stage 1. This can seem illogical. But fewer people are diagnosed with stage 2 kidney cancer than for the other stages, which may affect the statistics.

Stage 1

More than 80 out of every 100 people (more than 80%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 2

Almost 95 out of 100 men (almost 95%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Almost 75 out of 100 women (almost 75%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 3

Almost 60 out of 100 men (almost 60%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Around 60 out of 100 women (around 60%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 4

Around 5 out of every 100 men (around 5%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

More than 5 out of every 100 women (more than 5%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Survival for all stages of kidney cancer

Generally, for people diagnosed with kidney cancer in England and Wales:
  • more than 70 out of every 100 (more than 70%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • almost 60 out of every 100 (almost 60%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
  • about 50 out of every 100 (about 50%) survive their cancer for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

What affects your survival

Your outlook depends on the stage of your kidney cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

The grade of your cancer also affects your outlook. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under a microscope. Low grade tumours tend to grow slower than high grade tumours. Grade 1 is the lowest grade and grade 4 the highest.

Another factor is how well you are overall. Doctors have a way of measuring this. They call it your performance status. A score of 0 means you are fully active and more or less as you were before your illness. A score of 1 means you cannot carry out heavy physical work, but can do everything else. The scores continue to go up, depending on how much help you need.

Performance status score is important in kidney cancer because the cancer can cause general symptoms such as:

  • a high temperature (fever)
  • weight loss
  • extreme tiredness

People who do not have these symptoms have a better outlook than people who do have these symptoms. Performance status is affected by these symptoms.

Your age can also affect your outlook. Younger men and women with kidney cancer tend to live slightly longer than older people.

Clinical trials

Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve your outlook if you have kidney cancer. No one is completely sure why this is. It is probably partly to do with your doctors and nurses monitoring you more closely if you are in a trial. For example, you may have more scans and blood tests.

More statistics

You can read more statistics for kidney cancer in our Cancer Statistics section.

Information and help

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