Survival statistics for kidney cancer | Cancer Research UK
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Statistics and outlook for kidney cancer

Outlook means the likely outcome of your disease and treatment. Your doctor may call this your prognosis. With kidney cancer, the likely outcome depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is diagnosed (the stage). The grade can also be important.

Below we have quite detailed information about the likely outcome of different stages of kidney cancer. The statistics are intended as a general guide only. For the more complete picture in your case, you need to speak to your own specialist.

We include statistics because people ask for them but not everyone wants to read this type of information. Remember that you can skip this page if you don't want to read it. You can always come back to it.

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people. The statistics cannot tell you about the different treatments people may have had, or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your outlook.


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Kidney cancer survival

Find out about kidney cancer survival.

People ask us for this information but not everyone with cancer wants to read it. If you are not sure whether you want to know at the moment, you can always come back to it later.

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

No one can tell you exactly how long you’ll live with kidney cancer. It depends on your individual situation and treatment. No two patients are exactly alike and response to treatment also varies from one person to another.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). Or you can talk to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.


Survival by stage

No UK-wide statistics are available for different stages of kidney cancer or individual 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 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%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 2

Almost 95 out of 100 men (almost 95%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. And almost 75 out of 100 women (almost 75%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 3

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

Stage 4

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

Read more about the stages of kidney cancer.


Survival for all stages of kidney cancer

The statistics below are for people diagnosed with kidney cancer in England and Wales. 

Generally for people with kidney cancer in England and Wales

  • more than 70 out of every 100 (more than 70%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • almost 60 out of every 100 (almost 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more
  • about 50 out of every 100 (about 50%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

What affects survival

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

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

Your general health and fitness may also affect survival. Doctors have a way of grading how well you are. They call this performance status. A score of 0 means you are completely able to look after yourself. A score of 1 means you can do most things for yourself, but need some help. 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 (prognosis) than people who do have these symptoms. Performance status is used to predict prognosis because it will be affected by these symptoms. 

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


About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer. Many people live much longer than 5 years.

The statistics on this page are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people will die of causes other than cancer. This gives a more accurate picture of cancer survival.


Clinical trials

Research evidence shows that taking part in clinical trials may improve outlook. 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. There is information in the trials and research section

You can search for trials for kidney cancer on our clinical trials database.


More statistics

Read more about understanding statistics in cancer research and incidence, mortality and survival statistics.

For more in-depth information about survival and other statistics for kidney cancer, go to our Cancer Statistics section.

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Updated: 2 March 2016