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2018 Kidney Cancer Patient Survey

“Almost half of kidney cancer patients suffer initial
misdiagnosis UK wide report reveals.”

Charity calls for government to support national kidney cancer screening programme

(Cambridge, United Kingdom, 29th October 2018) – Kidney Cancer UK, the UK’s leading kidney cancer charity, has highlighted worrying concerns at the difficulty of identifying the disease as *45% of patients received treatment for unrelated illnesses before kidney cancer was diagnosed. Data from the charity’s latest patient survey released today revealed the most common of these initial misdiagnoses was urine infection, kidney stones and respiratory problems (asthma, cough, short of breath). The importance of swift action when treating any form of cancer is imperative and in many cases a misdiagnosis has proven fatal and as such Kidney Cancer UK is calling for the Government to support their research into a national kidney cancer screening programme.

Local GP Dr. Juliet Usher-Smith said; “The finding that, of those surveyed, almost half of patients had no symptoms before diagnosis really shows how difficult it is to diagnose kidney cancer and the urgent need for better ways of identifying this silent killer earlier”

The survey, which is the UK’s only kidney cancer focused annual survey, received 270 patient responses, exposing some startling facts: almost half (48%) were diagnosed at the most life-threatening stages, 3 and 4, where the prognosis is much worse. Furthermore, 73% of those surveyed showed no signs of the disease before diagnosis, highlighting the difficulty in recognising and rapidly diagnosing the UK’s seventh most common cancer. The reason is that kidney cancer symptoms are often difficult to detect in its early stages and that the common symptoms can often be misread as other ailments. Patients most commonly present at GP level with fatigue (39%), pains in the back, side & flank (38%) and blood in urine (36%).

At this year’s Conservative Party Conference, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new cancer strategy aimed at increasing the number of people whose cancer is diagnosed early from the current figure of 1-in-2 to 3-in-4 people by 2028. She pledged new diagnostic facilities.

Kidney cancer surgeon, Mr Grant Stewart of the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge said: “These statistics, along with the Prime Minister’s announcement of an earlier diagnosis strategy stand as a stark reminder of the continued elusiveness of diagnosing kidney cancer at an early stage where surgery would be curative. Kidney Cancer UK has an active working party developing a Kidney Cancer Accord which we will present to NICE and the NHS recommending steps towards making improvement in quality of services and consistent pathways for patient treatment.”

Chief Executive of Kidney Cancer UK, Nick Turkentine, welcomed this new ambition, but pointed out: “Hi-tech, diagnostic testing is only part of the answer. In the case of kidney cancer, we urgently need clear quality standards and performance indicators to support clinicians to help them identify at-risk patients, until a simple test to detect kidney cancer can be developed. It is important that we as a charity can help GPs identify symptoms of kidney cancer through sustained and penetrative awareness campaigns to both the public and GPs”

Read the survey here

2018 Survey Cover

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