By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Cancer survival rates are described in terms of the proportion of patients who survive for a given period of time after they have received their cancer diagnosis. Generally, survival is talked about in terms of 1-year, 5-year and 10-year survival rates.
Due to a lack of obvious symptoms in the early stages of disease, renal cell carcinoma is often only detected once it has already reached an advanced stage. If the cancer has already spread (or metastasized) to other parts of the body, it cannot be cured and treatment is instead focused on slowing disease progression and alleviating symptoms.
Survival statistics are designed to give an overall estimate of a patient’s survival outcome, but they cannot be taken as a definitive indicator of how long a person will live.
According to the Amercian Cancer Society, the five-year survival rates after a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma are as follows:
- For stage 1 tumors (7 cm or less in diameter and confined to the kidney), the five-year survival rate is 81%.
- For stage 2 tumors (more than 7 cm in diameter but still confined to the kidney), the rate is 74%.
- If the cancer has invaded a nearby lymph node, blood vessel or the fatty tissue surrounding the kidney, it is referred to as a stage 3 tumor and the five-year survival rate is 53%.
- If the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in other parts of the body or to another organ, it is categorised as stage four and the survival rate is reduced to 8%.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Sep 17, 2014