The incidence of kidney cancer in the UK has risen by 68 per cent over the last two decades and now affects almost 6,000 people a year. Research in UK says that 5,700 people each year are affected by kidney cancer and survival rates are among the lowest in Europe. The disease accounts for an estimated 95,000 worldwide deaths each year, 3,000 of which are in the UK.
According to Dr Nick James, a consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and a kidney cancer expert, smoking is believed to be one of the main risk factors for the disease, accounting for 30 to 40 per cent of cases. Other risk factors include obesity and high blood pressure, which may explain the continued rise of the disease despite a decline in the number of smokers in the UK.
"The most common symptom of the disease is blood in the urine, but unfortunately the bleeding is often intermittent and can be disregarded by patients and doctors," Dr James says. Early detection is crucial if the cancer is to be successfully treated, and survival rates after surgery can be as high as 94 per cent. But once the cancer has spread, the chance of treating the disease successfully drops considerably. Research says the rise in incidence of kidney cancer is concerning, but can be countered if people adopt lifestyle changes.