Kidney Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people 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 73,820 adults (44,120 men and 29,700 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 disease is rarely found in people younger than 45. The average age of diagnosis is 64.

It is estimated that 14,770 deaths (9,820 men and 4,950 women) from this disease will occur this year. Between 2007 and 2016, 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 only located 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 69%. 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 may have lower survival rates. However, recent advances in treatment, especially with immunotherapy, are allowing some people with kidney cancer to live longer.

It is important to remember that statistics on the 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 2019, and the ACS website (January 2019).

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.