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Kidney Cancer Survival Rates

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

The overall kidney cancer survival rates are 44% for 5 years and 40% for 10 years. 25% of patients are diagnosed while at stage 4 of the disease and when this happens barely 10% make it to 5 years. However, it must be noted that even at this stage if the cancerous tumor is of a low grade and is localized, the kidney cancer survival rates can be as high as 40%.

Kidney Cancer Survival Rates Lowers

The most common type of Kidney Cancer is called Renal Cell Carcinoma. 31,000 new cases are detected in the US each year of which 12,000 deaths occur. Kidney Cancer is most common in men over the age of 55.

Overall prognosis depends on the grade and the stage of the cancer and also on the overall performance status of the individual at the time of diagnosis and treatment. This is important because a poor overall performance means symptoms like fever, weight loss and extreme tiredness that inhibit treatment. Those who don’t have such symptoms have a better prognosis.

kidney cancer survival rates

Kidney Cancer Survival Rates By Stage

Generally, if the cancer is at stage 1 at diagnosis, the prognosis is good because a complete surgical resection of the cancerous growth is possible. At stage 2, the survival rate for 5 years is 65 – 75%. At stage 3 the kidney cancer survival rates begin to diminish because the cancer would have spread to the nearby lymph nodes, the survival rate drops to 40 – 70% for 5 years.  At stage 4, if the cancer has metastasized  to the other organs of the body, the overall 5 year survival rate is barely 5%, but if it has not metastasized, the survival rate can be higher.

Kidney Cancer Survival Rates By Size of Tumor

Kidney cancer survival rates are also specified based on the size of the tumors. If the tumors are less than 4 cms, the survival rates are as high as 90-95%. Larger tumors allow a survival rate of 80-85%. Thereafter, if the cancer has spread, the survival rates diminish to 5-15%.

Surgery is the general treatment if resection is possible. Kidney Cancer is resistant to Chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Kidney tumors have a tendency to reoccur after surgery. If they do, the Kidney Cancer Survival Rates are very poor.

69 Responses to “Kidney Cancer Survival Rates”

  1. Mike says:

    By chance a golf ball size tumor was found on my left kidney. Because I have had a history of Renal Failure a partial was done. (The kidney never recovered and does not process at all)

    Everything was great and I went in for my 2 year CT without worry. Hit the Dr’s office expecting to be told everything was fine, see you in a year.

    Unfortunately the Dr did not tell me that story. A 6 MM mass has grown in my lung since the last CT. So now we wait 90 days, do another CT for any changes and possible biopsy. Honestly this has hit me like a brick wall. I admire everyone’s spirit and I have to say my enthusiasm and Carpe Diem attitude that I show is underlined secretly with the fear that I just don’t know what is going to happen. Jumping from Stage 1 to Stage 4 is not something I had ever really considered before. God Bless everyone going through this and hang in there.

  2. Linda says:

    I am 62 years old. Last year I had a complete radical nephrectomy on my left kidney doctor said he got all the cancer out. Now I had a biopsy done because a ct scan showed a mass which there is a large mass in the same spot the kidney was removed renal cell carcinoma it is called. Now the doctor wants to operate and try to take this cancer mass out which is also started to attach to the muscle so he will also have to shave away some of this and told me it is a very big surgery and recovery could be weeks maybe months but says there is no other treatment i can have done for this. The cancer mass is contained and not moved to any other parts of my body, should i go to a cancer treatment hospital for further treatments or solutions to this problem or listen to the doctor and have the surgery. I am afraid of the surgery because i read on line that they cant always get the cancer cells out you only need one to be left behind. I dont know what to do can you give me some suggestions or if someone has had the same thing happen to them. My prayers and my thoughts are with all of you to recover. Thankyou Linda

  3. Fred says:

    In early June I had a stroke and bleed in my cerebellum. In trying to figure out why my blood pressure was so labile, they found the kidney cancer. I was diagnosed as stage 3 (some renal vein involvement) RCC and was scheduled to have the right kidney removed in early August. Prior to this I was symptom free but I was a smoker and overweight, and lived an extremely active if stressful life.

    Now I take things much more slowly. I am back at work on a part-time (5 hours per day) basis but I will increase this over time. I have started driving again. I am walking, although I appear at times a bit like a drunken chicken when trying to get around. My doctor, wife and children are astounded I’ve done as well as I have. Currently I am completely cancer free and my doctor gives me at minimum a 70% survival rate. So far so good.

    I have lost 45 lbs and kept it off. I gave up smoking and drinking. No salt or fat. I take no drugs containing aspirin or acetaminaphen. Although this sounds like a monastic existence I am quite happy with it. I enjoy the challenge of finding appropriate foods when we go out to eat.

    My advice to everyone is to stop smoking immediately. I am 56 years old and had smoked steadily for 37 years. Now it’s done and believe it or not, I had no withdrawal symptoms. Maybe fear was a symptom? Maybe being nearly unconscious the first 10 days got me past the worst of it. I will never know for sure, but I do know that if I ever start to smoke or drink again, the cancer will return and this next time I will not be so lucky. So if you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. If you do, stop right now! It will save your life. Statistically, only one out of four survive what I went through and of the one, half are dead in a year. Don’t take my path…..there are far easier ways to quit smoking and to drop 45 lbs.

  4. Mike says:

    Had some blood in urine that I thought was kidney stone or something else “innocent”. DO NOT IGNORE BLOOD IN URINE AS IT MAY BE LARGER UROLOGICAL PROBLEMS. I now know that I have Stage 2 RCC which will be addressed by a total removal this month. I am not afraid of the outcome either way, but I feel foolish that I “played off” the symptoms. I am slightly overweight, non-smoker, worked in steel mills for a few years, and fairly good health otherwise. I look forward to surgery to address what I thought were the “aging” signs of a 58 year old man. I am lucky that the woman who loves me was the one who pushed me to get examined, treated, and have this addressed. She and the doctor worked together to give me my life back.

  5. Talawna J. says:

    I wish you all the best!!! In May of 2010 My Mother Audrey Johnson was diagnosed with kidney cancer. We saw her jump from Stage 1 to Stage 4 in 5 months, unfortunately my Mother passed on March 11, 2011! I strongly urge you all to stay encouraged & keep your spirits up! Although i don’t know exactly how you feel, i feel some way connected! I’ll pray for you all day in & day out! God Bless

  6. John Spounias says:

    For anybody that reads this do not be discuraged. I had renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer)in my left kidney.
    Had a radical nephrectomy when I was only 43. The stage was 2 going on 3. At that time I had little hope it was 10 years ago. I let the doctors do there stuff. Then I went to our creator for help. Asked Jesus Christ into my life. And prayed to be cured. Just the hope that Jesus can give us and he can take away your fear of dieing. So you can live your live abundantly. Trust in the Lord with all your Heart and all Your Might. He made you. He can cure you. Bless all of you. Trust in your Doctor and then in the Lord.

  7. Gerri says:

    Linda, if there is any way possible, go to a cancer treatment center. A Sloan Kettering, or M. D. Anderson type hospital and/or find an oncologist who is a kidney cancer specialist (though there aren’t a lot of them). Ten years ago this August, my 43 year old husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 RCC. He had a 15 centimeter tumor on his kidney that extended into his colon, and also had tumors scattered throughout both lungs. His prognosis was horrible. In fact, the surgeon who attempted the nephrectomy in our hometown of Dallas, opened him up, then sewed him back him when he saw how extensive the cancer was. 6 weeks later we went to M. D. Anderson and the VERY experienced urologist there removed the huge tumor in the abdomen. Then, we began seeing an oncologist who specialized in RCC and began a clinical trial. By God’ grace he responded to the treatment- the lung tumors shrunk enough in both lungs that surgeries became an option and were successfully performed. A few years later he had a metastasis to the brain but gratefully it was operable and was removed. Since then, he’s had several additional lung surgeries and finally this year, he had his 8th surgery and for the first time in 10 years he shows no evidence of the disease anywhere! Hang on to hope and get the best medical team you can find. Kidney Cancer Specialists are very important. We were told there were no options for us in Dallas, thus we went to Houston for surgery/treatment. Now, more therapies are more widely available, but still, having a doctor who treats a LOT of kidney cancer is very important.

  8. Roman says:

    To be honest, I’m getting more anxious and a little more confused about my situation. The financial aspects of my future are agonizing ie. I love my wife greatly and I am the breadwinner, and she is impaired by a heart condition that restricts her ability to work – and she doesn’t have enough social security credits for disability because she is a legal permanent resident and has not worked long enough in the USA… Se does not have a driver’s license and has difficulty learning to drive.
    Last Spring I was diagnosed with stage 3a grade4 RCC that had not spread beyond the kidney wall – but my 2 regional nodes and the adrenal gland were also removed. Unfortunately 5 mos later I now have a 5cm RCC tumor in my right humerus where it has spread to my bones. I am in a lot of pain now and have had one 10 day round of radiation. I go to a prestigious hospital and am now considered a charity case though my BCBS Insurance has paid for over 50k…I was unable without a payment plan to pay off immediately the remaing few 1000 dollars due to other bills too including my wife’s medical bills.
    My oncologist is a smart man, a John Hopkins man, but I feel like a lab rat, and they screw up my appointments and make me feel like I’m just lucky to attend such a hospital. I can’t get disability because I’m still working but I’m scared my employer might try to do something tricky to get rid of me…and she has a a history of not being supportive to employees. I’m a good worker and have a 25 yr. employment hx. but the stress is almost unbearable at times. I don;t want to leave my wife destitute. She loves our new apartment and it just about drives me mad when I think she might lose it and even become homeless. I have a life insurance policy I’ve paid into at work and it’s supposed to be portable and for $150k with everything left to my wife. I just don’t know what to do. I’m afraid I’ve missed some detail and that somehow in the end the money will be taken away on some technicality. I don’t know how long left I have to live. Sometimes I wish I could just die soon so the financial situation would now be known to be secure for my wife.
    I am 52yrs.old and my wife is 54yrs.old. My RCC had no oveert symptoms ie. I was being treated for a vitamin D deficiency and a very slightly elevated calcium level and the RCC was eventually discovered via a CT scan. My right arm is in constant pain and its functioning is impaired ie. I can’t lift or throw objects and sometimes it takes two hand to write. I’m scared a bit because I saw my stepfather die of metastatic bone disease and I know what it can do… I want to get all my finances secure , but it’s hard and confusing. I have a lot of credit card debt ie. over $35k due to my wife’s prev.hospitalizations/treatments where I had to max out the cards due to her preexisting conditions. I love her more than anything in my life. I was for quite a few years her caretaker, and now suddenly it is more and more she who is having now to help me with things. I don’t mean to rant, it’s just that I’m in uncharted waters and I don’t know what to do – what to really do ie. quit my job and apply for disability, file for bankrutcy now or wait, go on meds now or wait till the next scans in Feb. I’m venting…

  9. Mona Ridder says:

    I am 67 years old. When I was 54 I was diagnosed with renal cell and underwent a nephrectomy of my left kidney and also lost several inches of colon to which the tumor was attached. Three months later, the cancer had spread to my lungs, soft tissue where the kidney had been and to bone (rib). I underwent high dose Interleukin 2, immune response therapy three months later and within two months (May 1999) a CT showed no more tumors (not lungs, not soft tissue, not bone). I know how fortunate I am to have had the determination and support to see the treatment through. I had CTs every three months for the next year, then every six months for two years and every year thereafter until the 10th year (2009) when oncology ran out of protocol for me. I skipped 2010 and recently had another CT. I am still cancer free. I have been told it can come back anytime, so I will continue to be vigilant but my odds have improved considerably over the years. The costs: It took a full year out of my life but I’ve more than gotten it back. The cost out of pocket over an above my insurance coverage was about $50,000. The first symptom I noticed was blood in my urine, immediately followed by pain I thought was a kidney stone. I had been tired for sometime and I’d wake up with an aching back but chalked it up to overdoing and being overtired. My husband and I set about making wills, getting finances in order and making sure that there would be any loose ends when it was over and I fully expected for it to be over in the not too distant future. I was wrong. The odds were wrong and I truly believe there are things I am still meant to do and that God’s hand is in it all. My prayers to all of you sharing this saga.

  10. dawn mcgee says:

    hi my name is dawn i just found out my dad at 61 has kidney cancer and is also in the badder from doing biopsy yestesday.the doctor has to see what type cancer and he has to have a bone scan to see if its spread any were else.and then talk about sergery.my dad started loseing waight last year went from 160 to 135 since 2010 but didnt think any thing then about the waight lose.just the past couple of mounths urinating blood and pain in his side.i dont know what to exspect.what do you think?i am so worried for him and my mother being left with out the love of her life.

  11. lily says:

    I had a right kidney partial nephrectomy done in May 2011. The pathology finding is a 2.8 by 2.5 by 1.5 cm multi cystic mass. I am a 42yo female. About 6months back before my surgery I had some weird symptom, such as I felt weak for no reason; I had repetitive vaginal yeast; I had knee joint pain. My internist suggested a CT scan and that’s how the cyst was discovered first. Since after the surgery, I have felt fine. But I also have become very cautious to even the slightest discomfort that my body feels. I have a 5yo child and a wonderful husband. I want to live and enjoy life with them. I want to take care of them and watching my child growing.

  12. Hazel says:

    I am 68 years old. I had been getting ultrasound scans for bladder problems for about 3 years, to check the urinary function. As a routine part of the exam, they scan the kidneys. The radiologist noticed a change from the year before and notified my urologist. A CT scan showed a 3 cm tumor, and I had a partial nephrectomy without further treatment. I went for a 6-month, then yearly scans. It is now 3 years since my surgery, and at my last scan the surgeon wished me an great rest of my life, and he wouldn’t be seeing me again. He said the chances of a recurrence are never zero, but that the recurrence rates go down steeply in the first three years. My family doctor will give me my yearly ultrasound. I had so much fear every time I had to go for a checkup. I feel much better after he said that. I will never be as comfortable about my body again. When I don’t feel well, I think about cancer now. I push the thoughts aside, and find that prayer and meditation are helpful. Nobody except another cancer survivor can understand. I am grateful for every day and every hour that I am here on this planet.

  13. Mary says:

    Stage 1 diagnosed in May 2006; right nephrectomy within weeks and full recovery. All doctor visits were great, but I did not go in for my five year check up.
    Now I am experiencing an ache in the area of the nephrectomy … should I be considered? I am 58 years old.

  14. Lin says:

    My name is Linda. I quit smoking in ’97 and in ’99 had a nephrectomy for RCC found serendipitously on an abdominal ultrasound. 6 months after this surgery, a friend left a pack of cigarettes on my porch. I smoked one; stress and anxiety just melted away. I bought a carton and puffed away until a month ago when I discovered electronic cigarettes. I had an MRI due to a back injury and a tumor was found in my remaining kidney. the tumor was visible on abdominal CT done over a year ago but radiologist didn’t ‘see’ it. It is less than 4 cm but deep inside the kidney. Because I have a good ‘performance status’ at the age of 67 and still work full time, a partial nephrectomy will be done. Cryosurgery is possible but there is a greater chance of recurrence. Smoking + obesity + diabetes are all risk factors. My electronic cigarettes arrived in the mail the same day I learned I had a renal mass. I had failed patches, gum, expensive hypnosis and Chantix. I could not quit this terrible habit. Now, it may kill me. I was aware each and every time I lit a cigarette of the risk I was taking. I did it, anyway. The worst of it is what this will do to my family. I haven’t just done this to myself; it will affect my loved ones in ways I cannot stop thinking about. I have lived in fear of this moment for 12 years but smoked in spite of it because I am hopelessly addicted to nicotine. My goose is cooked because of my addiction and because I am an idiot.

  15. Michael says:

    Had a partial nephrectomy 2008; resected a gulf ball size cancer tumor was able to keep 60% of left kidney with adrenal gland. Now working on fourth year. Just had MRi scan.. things remain stable. Scared of taking additional CAT scans as I believe that numerous cat scans searching for kidney stones perhaps caused the renal cancer to begin with. Found out that MRI is much safer and more effective at finding stones and cancer tumors with no radiation emitted. Just a bit more costly. wish I was told that info to begin with. Had about ten CAT scans thus far.. Do not want any more. Please do your resear4ch and perhaps opt for the MRI if given the option.. Drink plenty of clean water. Keep away from all the things that stress the kidney.. Including stress. Kidneys respond quicly to all kind of stress

  16. Akber Nawab says:


    My name is Aki and I am 27 years old male from India and I had stage 2 kidney cancer and my left kidney has been removed due to 5.5 cm of tumor so please tell me what are my 10 years survival rate and what all things are important for me thanks take care bye..


  17. carmen says:

    i was really lucky that they found my cancer very early on…i was about 6 mounths preagnet i was haveing alot of pain so the doctor orderd a ultrasound to see what was going on the baby was ok but i was not they found a tumor on my left kidney wow was that a eye opener.i was only 20 at the time they couldnt do the surgery untill i had the baby i had her on dec 6 1990 n march 1 1991 i had a full nephrectomy..the tumor was the size of a large grapfruit thank god they got it all out i hadnt spread……im 42 now n still cancer free but i was told that im at high risk to get cancer again….

  18. hi,everybody,im just 25 years old,having had uti one months ago and was treated with ab and i was eventually cured,,2 days ago i started to experience the same symptom of uti,i went for urine analysia,and doc told me the result is on borderline not gud not bad as well,i was recommended to perform an ultrasound,and they found some kind of scarring or fibrosis on my kidney,,the radiologist try to confort me by saying its not that bad,may be its prostitis,and refer me to urologist for further examination,,tomorrow i ve appointement with urologist,,,that increased my paranoia,and also im having trouble sleeping at night,,having strange nightmare and dream,waiting 4 tomorow so impatiently.,,

  19. patricia says:

    hi my husband was diganosed december 21 2011 with metastatic renal cell cancer in right kidney measure 6 plus cm it is in the lymp nodes and both lungs the right lung is almost covered in cells and the left is not as bad but plenty in there they measure around 3cm golf ball size in lungs had the right kidney removed jan 12 2011 ging to start treatment for chemo jan 19 2011 just curious if anyone has survived with it being this bad he still gets around pretty darn good except for the surgery it self i just wonder about the when and if’s did everybody go through the if and whens i so scared for him good luck to have that has gone through this and God bless

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