Coronavirus and cancer

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Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:

  • type and stage of cancer
  • level of fitness
  • previous treatment

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.

Survival statistics are available for each stage of kidney cancer in one area of England. These figures are for men and women diagnosed between 2013 and 2017. 

Stage 1

More than 85 in 100 people (more than 85%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Stage 2

More than 75 out of 100 people (more than 75%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 3

Around 75 in 100 people (around 75%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed. 

Stage 4

More than 10 out of 100 people (more than 10%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.

Survival for all stages of kidney cancer

There are no overall UK-wide statistics available for different stages of kidney cancer. For people diagnosed with kidney cancer in England between 2013 and 2017:

  • around 80 out of every 100 (around 80%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • around 65 out of every 100 (around 65%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
  • more than 50 out of every 100 (more than 50%) survive their cancer for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

About these statistics

The term 1 year survival does not mean that you will only live for 1 year. They relate to the number of people who are still alive 1 year after their diagnosis of cancer.

Some people live much longer than 1 year.

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

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

Last reviewed: 
27 May 2020
Next review due: 
27 May 2023
  • Kidney cancer survival statistics
    Office of National Statistics, 2019

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th edition)
    VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2017

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