Renal cancer occurs when cells on one of your kidneys begin to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors. Ultimately, your individual life expectancy after a diagnosis of renal cancer can vary greatly from statistical patterns, but the stage of the cancer and success of treatment contribute to how long you are likely to live.
Stage 1 and 2
Stage 1 tumors are 7 cm in size or less, and both Stage 1 and 2 cancer have not moved beyond the kidney, reports the American Cancer Society.
Stage 3 and 4
With Stage 3 renal cancer, the tumor affects blood vessels around the kidney. Stage 4 tumors move beyond the membrane around the kidney, affecting lymph nodes or other organs.
Five years after diagnosis, approximately 96 percent (Stage 1) and 82 percent (Stage 2) of patients are still alive, reports the American Cancer Society. Stage 3 renal cancer has a 63 percent five-year survival rate; Stage 4 has only a 23 percent survival rate.
Your life expectancy may be shortened if complications develop during treatment, such as anemia or high levels of lactate dehydrogenase or calcium in your bloodstream, cautions the American Cancer Society.
Your oncologist is able to give you a more individualized picture of your likelihood of recovering from kidney cancer.