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Kidney cancer survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for kidney cancer by age and trends over time are presented here. The ICD codes for kidney cancer are ICD-10 C64-C66 and C68.

The statistics on these pages give an overall picture of survival. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics include all adults diagnosed with kidney cancer, at all ages, stages and co-morbidities. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. If you are a patient, you will probably find our CancerHelp pages more relevant and useful. 

The latest survival statistics available for kidney cancer in England are 2005-2009 (followed up to 2010). Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

One-, five- and ten-year survival

The latest age-standardised relative survival rates for kidney cancer in England during 2005-2009 show that 71.5% of men are expected to survive their disease for at least one year, falling to 53.3% surviving five years or more (Table 3.1).1,2 The survival rates for women are similar, with 71.4% expected to survive for one year or more and 54.8% surviving for at least five years. Broadly similar rates have been reported for Scotland and Northern Ireland.3,4

Table 3.1: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66,C68), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, Adults (Aged 15-99), England 2005-2009 and England and Wales 2007

Relative Survival (%)
1 Year 5 Year 10 Year
Sex 2005-2009 2005-2009 2007*
Male 71.5 53.3 43.0
Female 71.4 54.8 44.3

Download this table XLS (38KB)

*Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

A common misconception is to treat five-year survival rates as ‘cure’ rates. However, for kidney cancer survival continues to fall beyond five years after diagnosis (Table 3.1).1,2 The five-year relative survival rates for kidney cancer are roughly in the middle of the 21 most common cancers in England.1 A contributing factor in kidney cancer survival rates not being as high as other cancers is that almost a quarter (24%) of cases of kidney cancer are emergency presentations.5 As with most cancers, treatment is more effective if it is detected at an early stage.

section reviewed 29/06/12
section updated 29/06/12

 

By age

As with nearly all cancers, relative survival for kidney cancer is higher in younger men and women, even after taking account of the higher background mortality in older people. The reasons for this are likely to include a combination of better general health, more effective response to treatment and earlier diagnosis in younger people overall. Differences in underlying tumour biology may also play a part for some cancer sites.

The five-year relative survival rates for kidney cancer in men in England during 2005-2009 ranged from 70.4% in 15-49 year olds to 30.7% in 80-99 year olds (Figure 3.1).1 Relative survival was similar in women for all of the age groups, ranging from 72.4% in 15-49 year olds to 29.0% in 80-99 year olds.

Figure 3.1: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66,C68), Five-Year Relative Survival Rates by Age, England 2005-2009

surv_5yr_age_kidney.swf

Download this chart XLS (53KB)

section reviewed 29/06/12
section updated 29/06/12

 

Trends over time

As with the majority of cancers, relative survival for kidney cancer is improving. This can generally be attributed to faster diagnosis and improvements in treatment. However, there is still scope for improvement and increasing cancer survival rates remains a major priority of Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer.6 An outcome of this Strategy is the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), which is a public sector/third sector partnership between the Department of Health, National Cancer Action Team, and Cancer Research UK. The role of NAEDI is to promote the earlier diagnosis of cancer, and investigating ways to increase survival rates for cancers such as kidney cancer, will be a priority. 

One-year relative survival rates have been used as an indicator of early diagnosis, since death before one year may be due to the disease being diagnosed at a late stage. In men, one-year relative survival rates for kidney cancer increased from 45.0% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 71.5% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.2).1,7-9 In women, one-year relative survival rates increased from 45.0% to 71.4% during the same time periods, respectively. 

Figure 3.2: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66,C68), Age-Standardised One-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995, England 1996-2009

surv_1yr_kidney.swf

Download this chart XLS (57KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

While relative survival rates are still influenced by early diagnosis after five years, they are also strongly dependent on the success of treatment. In men, five-year relative survival rates for kidney cancer increased from 28% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 53.3% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.3).1,7-9 In women, five-year relative survival rates increased from 28% to 53.5% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.3: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66,C68), Age-Standardised Five-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995, England 1996-2009


surv_5yr_kidney.swf

Download this chart XLS (56KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

Ten-year relative survival rates for men diagnosed with kidney cancer increased from 25% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to a predicted 43.3% in England in 2007 (Figure 3.4).1,9,10 In women, ten-year relative survival rates increased from 25% to a predicted 43.9% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.4: Kidney Cancer (C64-C66,C68), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995 and Predicted 2007, England 1996 to 2003

surv_10yr_kidney.swf

Download this chart XLS (55KB)

*Survival rates are not age-standardised from 1971-1985
**Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

section reviewed 29/06/12
section updated 29/06/12

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References for kidney cancer survival

  1. For data for 2005-2009: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010. London: ONS; 2011.
  2. For data for 2007: Coleman M P, et al. Research commissioned by Cancer Research UK. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2010.
  3. Information Services Division Scotland (ISD Scotland). Cancer Statistics. Cancer of the Kidney. Accessed September 2011.
  4. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR). Cancer Survival Online Statistics Kidney. Accessed September 2011.
  5. National Cancer Intelligence Unit (NCIN). Routes to Diagnosis. London: NCIN; 2010.
  6. Department of Health. Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer. London: Department of Health; 2011.
  7. For data for 1971-1990: Coleman MP, Babb P, Damiecki P, et al. Cancer Survival Trends in England and Wales, 1971-1995: Deprivation and NHS Region. Series SMPS No 61. London: ONS; 1999.
  8. For data for 1991-1995: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Survival: England and Wales, 1991-2001, twenty major cancers by age group. London: ONS; 2005.
  9. For data for 1996-2003: Rachet B, Maringe C, Nur U, et al. Population-based cancer survival trends in England and Wales up to 2007. Lancet Oncol. 2009.;10:351-69. Age-standardised figures were provided by the author on request.
  10. Cancer Research UK. CancerStats report. Survival – England and Wales. London: Cancer Research UK; 2004.
Updated: 3 September 2012