Kidney Cancer: What Is the Survival Rate?

September 8, 2021
1 min read
Kidney Cancer: What Is the Survival Rate?

Kidney cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in both men and women. It usually affects middle-aged to older people, with an average age of at diagnosis of 64 years old. It rarely affects people under the age of 45.

The survival rate of kidney cancers can be tricky to understand. This rate effectively shows the percentage of people diagnosed with the same type of cancer and stage who are still living after a set period of time, usually 5 years, according to the American Cancer Society. Kidney cancer survival rates can show how effective a certain treatment is and help medical professionals understand how severe a particular cancer is.

Stages of Kidney Cancer

The SEER database tracks relative survival rates of kidney cancer and groups the stages of kidney cancer. There are no traditional numbered stages of kidney cancer. Rather, the SEER database categorizes cancers into localized, regional, and distance stages. The 5-year relative survival rates of kidney cancer are tracked by the stage in which the cancer is located in the patient. 

  • Localized stage: cancerous cells have not spread outside of the kidney
  • Regional stage: cancer has moved to tissues nearby the kidneys
  • Distant stage: cancer has spread to bodily organs that are far away from the kidneys, such as the lungs.

5-Year Relative Survival Rates by Stage of Kidney Cancer

The 5-year relative survival rates of a person diagnosed with kidney and/or renal pelvis cancer depend on the stage of the patient. Renal pelvis cancer is grouped with kidney cancer because the renal pelvis, the tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder, is located in the central area of the kidney. 

A patient with kidney or renal pelvis cancer in the localized stage has a 5-year relative survival rate of 93 percent. Once cancer reaches nearby regional tissues, organs, or lymph nodes, then the percentage drops to 70 percent. Patients with distant-stage kidney cancer have a relative survival rate of 13 percent over 5 years. 

What Do Those Numbers Mean?

The percentages listed above apply only to the stage of kidney cancer that the patient is in when diagnosed. The survival rate numbers do not remain relevant if the patient’s cancer spreads or comes back after treatment. Additionally, there are many other factors that affect the numbers. The patient’s age, health and fitness levels, and reaction to cancer treatments should be taken into account. 

An estimated 13,780 people with kidney or renal pelvis cancer will die in 2021. Compared to other types of cancer, that estimated death number is around the middle of the pack. The death rate has remained stable over time. However, the survival rate of kidney cancer has increased over the past 50 years with the availability of new innovative treatments.

Statistics involving survival rates of kidney cancer are largely estimated. It is critical that your doctor understands the relative survival rate statistics and can explain your situation to you clearly. The medical professionals at BASS Medical Group understand how to properly diagnose and treat kidney cancer. Contact us at (925) 954-6710 or visit our website for more information.