Kidney Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2020

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of adults who are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

This year, an estimated 73,750 adults (45,520 men and 28,230 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with kidney cancer. Kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer for men, and it is the eighth most common cancer for women. The number of new kidney cancers has been increasing for several decades, although that increase has slowed in recent years. Some of the increase has been due to an increase in the use of imaging tests overall, which has led to finding small kidney tumors unexpectedly when the tests are done for another reason unrelated to the cancer.

It is estimated that 14,830 deaths (9,860 men and 4,970 women) from this disease will occur this year. Between 2008 and 2017, deaths from kidney cancer have decreased by 1% per year.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for people with kidney cancer is 75%. However, survival rates depend on several factors, including the type, cell type, and stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed.

About two-thirds of people are diagnosed when the cancer is located only in the kidney. For this group, the 5-year survival rate is 93%. If kidney cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 70%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 12%.

Researchers continue to study how tumor size, whether the cancer involves the lymph nodes, and how far the cancer has spread affect survival rates. Many of these studies calculate survival rates after surgery is done. These studies suggest that kidney cancer that spreads to the lymph nodes or distant areas of the body will have lower survival rates. However, recent advances in treatment, especially with immunotherapy, are allowing some people with metastatic kidney cancer to live much longer than before.

It is important to remember that statistics on survival rates for people with kidney cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2020, and the ACS website (January 2020).

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by kidney cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.