Kidney cancer rates have soared by 30 per cent since the early 2000s according to the latest figures published* by Cancer Research UK today (Thursday).
Kidney cancer rates up by 30 per cent in last decade
Over the last decade, the rates of people diagnosed have risen from nine in every 100,000 to 12 people in every 100,000 now. This means that cases hit 10,000 a year for the first time, up from around 6,900 a decade ago**.
All age groups have seen an increase, with the largest in those 80 and over. And experts believe obesity is one of the main reasons for this sharp increase. Smoking is also a risk factor.
But, more cases are also detected through new imaging methods, such as ultrasound and computed tomography (CT), which can pick up cancers before patients have noticed any symptoms.
Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the UK. Each year 4,200 people die from the disease.
Professor Tim Eisen, Cancer Research UK clinician based at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said: “These figures show a worrying rise in kidney cancer in the last decade and emphasise how crucial more research into better treatments for kidney cancer is. To address the growing problem we’re running several trials to make sure these kidney cancer patients have the best possible treatment options.
“But as well as finding better treatments, more needs to be done to catch this cancer as early as possible. Half of the patients we see are diagnosed incidentally when they have come in for other health problems. The best possible chance of survival comes from being aware of the potential symptoms, such as blood in the urine, and getting this checked out by your GP.”
Nilesh Jhala, a 50 year old sales representative from Luton, started noticing a cough in September of 2010 that wasn’t clearing. He went to see a GP and was diagnosed with kidney cancer in March 2011. “That cough was a blessing. It prompted the checkups that found the cancer. I’d also had night sweats and noticed my urine was darker, but had not thought for one minute that they were signs of cancer.
“A CT scan found a cyst on my kidney that must have been there for about four to five years – and the doctors might have missed it if it wasn’t for the persistent cough. Three weeks later I had my kidney removed.
“Since then I have been on a three year Cancer Research UK sponsored trial to see if a drug, taken after surgery, can help to stop or delay kidney cancer coming back. Today I am feeling great and am very positive about the future for myself and my family.”
Kate Law, Cancer Research UK’s director of clinical trials, said: “This increase in kidney cancers highlights how important it is to tackle this disease. We must continue to encourage people to be aware of the risk factors and to quit smoking in particular. Cancer Research UK is funding a range of trials to develop new treatments and improve existing ones for the disease.”
** European age-standardised incidence rates in persons in the UK increased from 9.2 in 2000-2002 to 12.2 in 2009-2011.
New cases of kidney cancer in the UK increased from 6,888 in 2002 to 10,144 in 2011.
About Cancer Research UK
• Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
• The charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
• Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
• Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
• Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
• Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
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Cambridge University Hospitals is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country. As the local hospital for our community we deliver care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.