Survival statistics for kidney cancer

Survival statistics for kidney cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for kidney cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.

In Canada, a separate 5-year net survival statistic is not reported for kidney cancer. It is grouped and reported together with renal pelvis cancer. This statistic does not necessarily reflect the actual survival for the individual cancers within the group. The 5-year net survival for both kidney cancer and renal pelvis cancer is 73%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with kidney cancer or renal pelvis cancer are 73% as likely to live at least 5 years.

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of kidney cancer. Generally, the earlier kidney cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

Survival by stage of kidney cancer is reported as 5-year observed survival. Observed survival is the percentage of people with a particular cancer who are alive at a certain point in time. Observed survival does not consider the cause of death, so the people who are not alive 5 years after their diagnosis could have died from cancer or another cause.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of kidney cancer. The following information is based on the National Cancer Data Base for the years 2001 to 2002. It includes observed survival statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada.

Kidney cancer survival


5-year observed survival









Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society . Survival Rates for Kidney Cancer by Stage . 2017 :
  • American Joint Committee on Cancer. AJCC Cancer Staging Handbook. 7th ed. Chicago: Springer; 2010.
  • Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee . Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019 . Toronto, ON : Canadian Cancer Society ; 2019 :
  • Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2021. Canadian Cancer Society; 2021.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

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