New survey reveals 51 per cent of patients are diagnosed through scans unrelated to the disease.
Kidney Cancer UK has released the results of its Kidney Cancer Survey 2018 conducted between 19th November and 14th December 2017, in support of Kidney Cancer Awareness Week 2018 (5-9th February), to highlight the urgent need for an effective early diagnosis of the disease.
With the NHS in crisis Kidney Cancer UK are disturbed to discover that 51.32per cent of those surveyed (significantly higher than the previous year’s 28per cent) received their kidney cancer diagnosis following a scan for an unrelated illness. This highlights the need for more awareness campaigns of the disease from the NHS aimed at the public and medical profession.
A further disturbing fact is that 40.14 per cent of those surveyed were not given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) when diagnosed. The CNS is the front-line person for information and support during cancer care and their details should be made available to all cancer patients. This lack of aftercare was also reflected in the 27.07 per cent who said they felt abandoned after surgery and wanted more contact with health professionals, up from 24 per cent y-o-y.
Compounding the difficulty of identifying kidney cancer at an early stage, 46.58 per cent of people surveyed reported that they were symptomless, of which 26.45 per cent said that they only felt unwell because of an ‘unrelated illness.’ Blood in the urine is a commonly quoted indicator of kidney cancer yet 55.20 per cent of those surveyed had never seen such an indicator prior to diagnosis. The funding of research into the viability of a national screening programme for kidney cancer is ongoing and receiving funding from Kidney Cancer UK.
Across the UK in 2014 *12,500 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer, and almost 4,500 people lost their life to the disease. These figures are on the rise and the need to raise awareness amongst the public and the medical profession through Kidney Cancer Awareness Week 2018 (5-9th February) is vital.
The Kidney Cancer UK Patient Survey 2018 also highlights the need for better information and support for patients when clinicians give their the diagnosis of kidney cancer, as well as following removal of the kidney. 29.14 per cent of people said, ‘they don’t know what type of kidney cancer they have,’ up from 18.87per cent y-o-y with 52.70 per centof people saying they were ‘not given enough information about kidney cancer’, up from 49 per cent y-o-y. When asked what type of information they would like to see more of, 41per cent of those surveyed said that they ‘would like more information on the type and stage of their cancer and what this meant for them’.
Kidney Cancer UK is concerned at the slow uptake of new treatments such as robotic surgery and cryoablation. The figures of patients undergoing robotic surgery have doubled but still stand at just 4.30 per cent compared to 2.96 per cent in the previous year. Cryoablation has shown a similarly poor uptake with just 2.96 per cent up from 2.15 per cent y-o-y. Both treatments are less invasive, offer quicker recovery times and require shorter hospital stay for patients and as such elevate pressure on much needed NHS hospital beds.
UK leading kidney cancer surgeon Mr Grant Stewart said: “The results of the annual Kidney Cancer UK patient survey give those of us caring for those with kidney cancer an idea of how patients are presenting and being managed. Critically, we are also able to gain a perspective of the concerns of the patients, such as lack of information about the disease which should be delivered by a Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS). Sadly, it seems that most patients do not have access to a CNS, this is an area that must be addressed. I was also very interested to see the insightful comments about the need for a non-invasive, urine based, early diagnosis test for this silent cancer, this is an area that we in academic urology are actively researching.”
Nick Turkentine of Kidney Cancer UK added; “The results from our annual survey reflect the shortfall in the awareness of kidney cancer right across the United Kingdom. This ranges from the general public not recognising symptoms, as well as areas of the medical profession continuing to miss vital signs of kidney cancer when patient presents themselves. We hear, time and time again, of patients being treated for months (sometimes years) with a misdiagnosis when they have presented with obvious kidney cancer symptoms such as blood in their urine. We ask all areas of the medical profession to put kidney cancer on their radar and for people to look out for any of the 10 signs of kidney cancer.”
He concluded; “Through Kidney Cancer Awareness Week 2018 we can help bring kidney cancer, the 7th most common cancer in the UK, into the public consciousness by talking about it. Get involved through social media by using the hashtag #KCAW2018. Get checked if you have some of the symptoms, and please, don’t let the first time you hear of kidney cancer be when your doctor tells you, you have it.”
The 10 signs of kidney cancer:
- Blood in the urine
- Persistent low back pain
- Pain in the side, between the ribs and hipbone
- A lump or mass in the area of the kidneys
- Persistent high temperature
- Night sweats
- Persistent cough
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Click the image below to download the 2018 survey:
For any support or information relating to kidney cancer visit our website at www.kcuk.org.uk
or we have a free-to-call Kidney Cancer Careline – 0800 002 9002.
Twibbon available at https://twibbon.com/Support/kcaw2018