Kidney cancer

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Survival statistics for kidney cancer

Survival statistics for kidney cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for kidney cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.

In Canada, a separate 5-year net survival statistic is not reported for kidney cancer. It is grouped and reported together with renal pelvis cancer. This statistic does not necessarily reflect the actual survival for the individual cancers within the group. The 5-year net survival for both kidney cancer and renal pelvis cancer is 67%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with kidney cancer or renal pelvis cancer are 67% as likely to live at least 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of kidney cancer. Generally, the earlier kidney cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of kidney cancer. The following information is based on the National Cancer Data Base for the years 2001 to 2002. It includes observed survival statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada. Observed survival is the percentage of people with a particular cancer who are alive at a certain point in time after their diagnosis. Observed survival does not consider the cause of death, so the people who are not alive 5 years after their diagnosis could have died from cancer or another cause.

Kidney cancer survival
Stage5-year observed survival

1

81%

2

74%

3

53%

4

8%

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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