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Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in adults in the UK, with 10,380 new cases diagnosed in 2012 and 4,252 deaths from kidney cancer in 2012. In UK men, it is the seventh most common cancer, with 6,459 new cases diagnosed in 2012, and in UK women it ranks tenth with 3,921 new cases diagnosed in 2012. This is a male to female ratio of 16:10 for incidence in the UK (data from Cancer Research UK).

It has been estimated that the lifetime risk of developing kidney cancer is 1 in 52 for men and 1 in 87 for women (Cancer Research UK).

Kidney cancer accounts for 4% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in men and just fewer than 2% of all cancers in women in the UK (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).

Kidney cancer is therefore a relatively rare cancer; however, some reports have indicated an increasing incidence globally, including the UK. This increase is due in part to the wider application of diagnostic imaging techniques leading to the incidental detection of asymptomatic kidney tumours.