Kidney cancer in U.S. being caught earlier
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Most cases of the commonest form of kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma, in the US are now more likely than ever to be detected at stage I of the disease, an analysis of the National Cancer Data Base shows.
"The study also reveals a small but significantly higher survival rate for recently diagnosed kidney cancers. This is good news for the more than 50,000 kidney cancer patients who will be identified this year," Dr. Christopher J. Kane, from UC San Diego Medical Center in California, said in a statement.
Kane's team examined the patterns of cancer detection and outcomes among 205,963 patients who were diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma from 1993 to 2004. As the years progressed, a rise in cases of stage I disease was seen, while cases of stage II, III, and IV disease dropped off, according to the report in the medical journal Cancer. .
The average size of stage I tumors at the time of diagnosis also shrunk during the study. In 1993, the average tumor diameter was 4.1 centimeters, while in 2003, it was 3.6 centimeters.
The researchers found that patients diagnosed in 1998 had a 3.3% increase in survival compared to those diagnosed in 1993.
Kane chalks these trends up to increased use of medical imaging.
"What we are seeing is that gynecologic or abdominal imaging to evaluate pain or other complaints is picking up other forms of disease such as kidney cancer," he explained. "The increased and widespread use of medical imaging in the United States is helping to diagnose cancer in its non-symptomatic stages when it is easier to treat successfully."
SOURCE Cancer, online May19, 2008.