Kidney Cancer UK’s 2019 patient survey shows UK kidney cancer patients hit by ‘diagnosis crisis’ that sees survival rates lag significantly behind rest of Europe.
- New research by Kidney Cancer UK reveals that five-year survival rates for the disease are substantially lower than they are across Europe.
- Despite the growing incidence, the report shows that almost half of patients are diagnosed at stage 3 or 4 of the disease.
- Kidney Cancer UK call for an increase in uptake on modern treatment standards and more in-depth diagnoses training for GPs.
Five-year survival rates for kidney cancer in the UK lag significantly behind the rest of Europe, a new report by the UK’s leading kidney cancer charity has shown.
According to the latest annual Kidney Cancer UK Patient Survey, British patients diagnosed with the disease are 22% less likely to survive past five years than those in other European countries. Fewer than half (47.5%) of UK kidney cancer patients are still alive five years after diagnosis, against an average of 61% across Europe and rates as high as 70 -71% in Germany and Austria.
Experts at the charity suggest that a ‘diagnosis crisis’ is fueling the survival disparity. Almost half of British kidney cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage of the disease (stage 3 or 4) and two-thirds of diagnoses fail to meet the NHS England Faster Diagnosis Standard, which requires diagnosis of suspected cancer within 28 days.
The report also revealed that many cases of kidney cancer in the UK are only being diagnosed incidentally – with approximately 60% of patients (59.29%) first diagnosed during a scan for an unrelated condition or following referral from an A&E Department.
Another issue Kidney Cancer UK have uncovered is that UK patients are not being offered the latest treatments, with fewer than 1% given the option of either cryotherapy (in which the tumour is frozen) or radiofrequency ablation (in which radio waves heat the tumour).
The charity believes the lack of clear guidelines for healthcare professionals plays a key role in the survival disparity. In the UK, NICE has 22 individual pieces of guidance relating to kidney cancer, but many of these are on specific treatments.
Experts at Kidney Cancer UK, who have recently published their own guidelines as The Kidney Cancer UK Accord, say NICE must urgently provide a clear clinical guideline on kidney cancer, covering all aspects of diagnosis and treatment, in order to bring survival rates in line with the rest of Europe.
Dr Katia Boleti, Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Despite the fact that cases of kidney cancer is on the rise, putting it among the ten most common forms of the disease, diagnosis and treatment standards in the UK are falling far short.
“British patients are 22% less likely to survive past five years with the disease than patients in other European countries. In real, human terms, that statistic tells us that ten patients will die of kidney cancer every week due to diagnostic delays and old-fashioned treatment standards.
“Whilst access to more modern treatment techniques must be an urgent priority, further education and awareness for GPs and patients alike is also essential to ensure no time is being wasted when kidney cancer is suspected”.
Nick Turkentine, CEO of Kidney Cancer UK, said: “Patients will continue to die from this survivable disease unless policy makers, healthcare professionals and charities make the necessary changes to provide patients with enhanced access to Clinical Nurse Specialists, counselling and modern treatment methods”.
Eleanor Johnstone, who was incorrectly diagnosed as perimenopausal when she visited her GP with signs of kidney cancer, said: “Lack of awareness and understanding meant that I was living with kidney cancer for years before being diagnosed. I had been experiencing symptoms for months, only to be dismissed by my GP as being perimenopausal. By the time I was diagnosed, the cancer had reached stage 3.
“That’s why it’s so vital that we raise awareness of kidney cancer and its symptoms – how can we expect to beat the odds when diagnosis of kidney cancer comes too late?”
To Read or download a copy of our 2019 Patient Survey, click here or the image below.
To read previous surveys click here