incidence and aetiology

Last reviewed 03/2023

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for 2%-3% of all adult malignancies. It is the seventh most common cancer in men and the ninth most common cancer in women.

  • worldwide, around 338,000 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world
    • highest incidence have been reported in developed countries
    • an estimated 121 629 new cases of RCC has been reported in the World Health Organization Europe region out of which 75 676 affected men
  • the incidence of RCC increased by about 2% both worldwide and in Europe during the last two decades (except in Denmark and Sweden where the incidence has been decreasing) (1,2)
  • it is twice as common in men than women

In the UK

  • since the late-1970s, kidney cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (149% increase) in Great Britain.
  • kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer and accounts for 3% of all new cases in the UK (2012)
  • in men kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK, with around 6,500 cases while in women it is the 10th most common cancer with around 3,900 cases diagnosed in 2012.
  • incidence rates are higher for males than for females at age 35 and above
  • more than a third (35%) of cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over.
    • an average of 35% of cases were diagnosed in men and women aged 75 and over, and three quarters (76%) were diagnosed in those aged 60 and over.
  • most kidney cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage.
  • in Europe, more than 115,000 new cases of kidney cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012
    • the UK incidence rate is 19th lowest in Europe for males and 17th highest for females (1,2)