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Kidney cancer incidence statistics

Incidence statistics for kidney cancer by country in the UK, and trends over time are presented here. There are also data on lifetime risk, the distribution of cases, by geography, socio-economic variation, by ethnicity and prevalence. 

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data

By country in the UK

Kidney cancer is the 8th most common cancer in the UK (2011), accounting for around 3% of all new cases. In males, it is the 7th most common cancer (4% of the male total), whilst it is 10th in females (2%).1-4

In 2011, there were 10,144 new cases of kidney cancer in the UK (Table 1.1): 6,257 (62%) in men and 3,887 (38%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of around 16:10.1-4 The crude incidence rate shows that there are 20 new kidney cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 12 for every 100,000 females. 

The European age-standardised rates (AS rates) do not differ significantly between the countries of the UK for either sex. 

Table 1.1: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66 and C68), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2011

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 5,180 364 534 179 6,257
Crude Rate 19.8 24.2 21.0 20.1 20.1
AS Rate 16.2 17.8 16.7 18.1 16.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 15.7 16.0 15.2 15.4 16.0
AS Rate - 95% UCL 16.6 19.6 18.1 20.7 16.8
Female Cases 3,189 242 370 86 3,887
Crude Rate 11.8 15.5 13.7 9.3 12.1
AS Rate 8.6 10.0 9.1 7.5 8.7
AS Rate - 95% LCL 8.3 8.8 8.2 5.9 8.4
AS Rate - 95% UCL 8.9 11.3 10.1 9.1 8.9
Persons Cases 8,369 606 904 265 10,144
Crude Rate 15.8 19.8 17.2 14.6 16.0
AS Rate 12.1 13.7 12.6 12.3 12.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 11.9 12.6 11.8 10.8 12.0
AS Rate - 95% UCL 12.4 14.7 13.4 13.8 12.5

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95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate

A north-south divide in kidney cancer incidence (particularly for females) has existed across the UK since at least the 1990s, when high rates were reported in Scotland, parts of Wales and the north of England.5 The latest analyses of kidney cancer incidence rates throughout the UK report significant variation between the former cancer networks, with higher than average rates in parts of Scotland, Wales, south west England and northern England, and lower than average rates in parts of London and south-east England, and the West Midlands.6,7

section reviewed 27/02/14
section updated 27/02/14

 

By age

Kidney cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older men and women. In the UK between 2009 and 2011, an average of 35% of cases were diagnosed in men and women aged 75 and over, and three quarters (75%) were diagnosed in those aged 60 and over (Figure 1.1).1-4 A small proportion of kidney cancers occur in children.

Age-specific incidence rates rise sharply from around age 45-49, peaking in the 80-84 age group. Incidence rates are higher for males than for females at age 35 and above (the gap is not significant in younger age groups), and this gap is widest at 85+, when the male:female incidence ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 21:10 (Figure 1.1).1-4

Figure 1.1: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66 and C68), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK, 2009-2011

cases_crude_kidney.swf

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section reviewed 27/02/14
section updated 27/02/14

 

Trends over time

Kidney cancer incidence rates have increased overall in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.2).1-4 For males, European AS incidence rates have increased by 132% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. This rise is bigger for females, with rates increasing by 168% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. Though some of this increase is probably due to incidental detection of asymptomatic disease through new imaging methods (e.g. ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging),8-11 this does not fully explain the trend.11,12,13 Changing prevalence of risk factors, including smoking and obesity, is also thought to be implicated.8,12,24

Figure 1.2: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66 and C68), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2011

inc_asr_gb_kidney.swf

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Kidney cancer incidence trends for the UK are shown in Figure 1.3.1-4 Over the last decade (between 2000-2002 and 2009-2011), the European AS incidence rates have increased by 27% and 38% in males and females, respectively.

Figure 1.3: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66 and C68), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2011

inc_asr_uk_kidney.swf

Download this chart XLS (51KB) PPT (132KB) PDF (40KB)

Kidney cancer incidence rates have increased overall for all of the broad adult age groups in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.4).1-3 The largest increases have been in people aged 80 and above, with European AS incidence rates increasing by more than three times (242%) between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. The smallest increases in adults have been in people aged 15-34, although rates in this age group have still almost doubled (90% increase) between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011.

Figure 1.4: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66 and C68), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Persons, Great Britain, 1975-2011

inc_asr_age_p_kidney.swf

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section reviewed 27/02/14
section updated 27/02/14

Lifetime risk

Lifetime risk is an estimation of the risk that a newborn child has of being diagnosed with cancer at some point during their life. It is a summary of risk in the population but genetic and lifestyle factors affect the risk of cancer and so the risk for every individual is different.

In 2010, in the UK, the lifetime risk of developing kidney cancer is 1 in 56 for men and 1 in 90 for women.14

The lifetime risk for kidney cancer has been calculated by the Statistical Information Team using the ‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method; this accounts for the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of kidney cancer over the course of their lifetime.15

section reviewed 24/04/13
section updated 24/04/13

 

Distribution of cases

The majority (86% in 2009) of cancers occur in the kidney (excluding the renal pelvis, ICD-10 C64), a further 7% in the renal pelvis (C65), and more than 5% in the ureter (C66). An illustration of the kidney is shown as Figure 1.5. More cases occur in males than females for each sub-site; the male:female ratio is around 16:10 for the kidney and renal pelvis, and 18:10 for the ureter.1-4

Figure 1.5: Diagram of the kidney

Diagram of the kidney

section reviewed 30/03/12
section updated 30/03/12

 

In Europe and worldwide

Kidney cancer (C64-C66) is the seventh most common cancer in Europe, with more than 115,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (3% of the total). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised incidence rates for kidney cancer are in the Czech Republic for both men and women; the lowest rates are in Macedonia for men and Cyprus for women. UK kidney cancer incidence rates are estimated to be the 19th lowest in males in Europe, and the 17th highest in females.17 These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.18

Kidney cancer (C64-C66) is the 13th most common cancer worldwide, with around 338,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (2% of the total). Kidney cancer incidence rates are highest in parts of Northern America and lowest in Middle Africa, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.18

Use our interactive map to explore the data for kidney cancer.

Variation between countries may reflect different prevalence of risk factors, use of screening and diagnostic methods.

section reviewed 11/06/14
section updated 11/06/14

 

By socio-economic variation

Two of the major risk factors for kidney cancer are obesity and smoking (see Risk factors), and so it is not surprising that kidney cancer incidence shows an association with deprivation in the UK. The most recent England-wide data for 2000-2004 shows European AS incidence rates are around 11% higher for men and 30% higher for women living in more deprived areas compared with the least deprived.19 Higher incidence rates in the most deprived populations have also been published for Northern Ireland and Wales.20,21 A study in Scotland for kidney cancer excluding the ureter and other and unspecified urinary organs (ICD-10 C64-C65) for 2005-2009 also shows around a 25% significant difference between the most and least deprived populations.22

section reviewed 30/03/12
section updated 30/03/12

By ethnicity

Age-standardised rates for White males with kidney cancer range from 11.2 to 11.8 per 100,000. Rates for Asian males are significantly lower, ranging from 5.3 to 9.2 per 100,000 and the rates for Black males are also significantly lower, ranging from 5.9 to 10.8 per 100,000. For females there is a different pattern - the age-standardised rates for White females range from 5.7 to 6.0 per 100,000. Rates for Black females are similar, ranging from 3.0 to 6.0 per 100,000, whereas Asian females are significantly lower, ranging from 1.9 to 3.8 per 100,000.25

Ranges are given because of the analysis methodology used to account for missing and unknown data. For kidney cancer, 25,886 cases were identified; 21% had no known ethnicity.

section reviewed 27/02/14
section updated 27/02/14

Prevalence

Prevalence refers to the number of people who have previously received a diagnosis of cancer and who are still alive at a given time point. Some patients will have been cured of their disease and others will not.

In the UK around 26,500 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with kidney cancer (Table 1.2).23

Table 1.2: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66 and C68), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 3,186 10,771 16,468
Female 1,894 6,466 10,035
Persons 5,080 17,237 26,503

Download this table XLS (30KB) PPT (120KB) PDF (17KB)

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were around 744,000  men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.16

section reviewed 17/05/13
section updated 17/05/13

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References for kidney cancer incidence

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerData/OnlineStatistics/.
  5. Quinn M, Wood H, Cooper N, et al. Cancer Atlas of the United Kingdom and Ireland 1991-2000. Office for National Statistics: Newport; 2005.
  6. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Cancer Network, UK, 2005. NCIN; London: 2008.
  7. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). Cancer e-Atlas. Accessed January 2014
  8. Mathew A, Devesa SS, Fraumeni JF Jr, et al. Global increases in kidney cancer incidence, 1973-1992. Eur J Cancer Prev 2002:11(2):171-8.
  9. Jayson M, Sanders H. Increased incidence of serendipitously discovered renal cell carcinoma. Urology 1998:51(2):203-5.
  10. Hollingsworth JM, Miller DC, Daignault S, et al. Rising Incidence of Small Renal Masses: A Need to Reassess Treatment Effect. J Natl Cancer Inst 2006:98(18):1331-1334.
  11. Nguyen MM, Gill IS, Ellison LM. The evolving presentation of renal carcinoma in the United States: trends from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program. J Urol 2006:176(6 Pt 1):2397-400
  12. Chow WH, Devesa SS, Warren JL, et al. Rising incidence of renal cell cancer in the United States. JAMA 1999:281(17):1628-31.
  13. Tate R, Iddenden R, Harden P, et al. Increased incidence of renal parenchymal carcinoma in the Northern and Yorkshire region of England, 1978-1997. Eur J Cancer 2003:39: 961-967.
  14. Lifetime risk was calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2012.
  15. Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, et al. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer 2011;105(3):460-5.
  16. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from http://globocan.iarc.fr/. Accessed May 2011.
  17. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  18. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.
  19. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). Cancer incidence by deprivation England, 1995-2004. NCIN; London: 2008.
  20. Donnelly DW, Gavin AT, Comber H. Cancer in Ireland 1994-2004: A comprehensive report. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry/National Cancer Registry, Ireland; Belfast: 2009.
  21. Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU). Cancer in Wales, 1995-2009: A Comprehensive Report. WCISU; Cardiff:2011.
  22. Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland. Cancer statistics. Cancer statistics. Kidney cancer. Accessed March 2012.
  23. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). One, five and ten-year cancer prevalence by cancer network, UK, 2006. NCIN; London: 2010.
  24. Simard EP, Ward EM, Siegel R, et al. Cancers with increasing incidence trends in the United States: 1999 through 2008. CA Cancer J Clin 2012. doi: 10.3322/caac.20141.
  25. National Cancer Intelligence Network and Cancer Research UK. Cancer Incidence and Survival by Major Ethnic Group, England, 2002-2006. 2009.
Updated: 11 June 2014