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Half of kidney cancer patients initially misdiagnosed

Published on 30/10/18 at 11:31am

Half of kidney cancer patients are initially misdiagnosed, according to data from Kidney Cancer UK’s patient survey.

Despite being the 7th most common cancer in the United Kingdom, 45% of patients were initially treated for less serious conditions such as urine infections, kidney stones or respiratory problems.

Meanwhile 48% of patients are already at the most advanced form of the disease, stage III or IV, before they receive a diagnosis.

Notably only 5% of patients at stage IV will survive beyond five years.

Overall 12,600 people are diagnosed with the disease each year while 4,600 died in 2016.

As such, Kidney Cancer UK is calling on the Government to support research into a national kidney cancer screening programme in order to ensure rapid diagnosis and effective treatment.

Notably 73% of patients surveyed showed no signs of kidney cancer before being diagnosed while 42.6% discovered they had kidney cancer incidentally.

Local GP Dr. Juliet Usher-Smith commented: “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 call comes after Theresa May announced a new strategy aimed at increasing the number of people whose cancer is diagnosed early, from 1-in-2 people to 3-in-4.

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.”

Louis Goss

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