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Need for Speed: Kidney cancer patients waiting three times longer

Greater urgency for kidney cancer treatments as 40% of UK patients wait 84 days for a diagnosis

A new survey by Kidney Cancer UK has revealed that two-fifths (40%) of patients are waiting over 84 days for a diagnosis, which is three times longer than NHS England’s Faster Diagnostic Standard (FDS).

This statistic has remained the same since 2019, despite the introduction of the FDS. The FDS states that the time from referral to diagnosis, or all clear, should be no more than 28 days. This suggests that kidney cancer patients are waiting up to 56 days for their doctor to decide whether to refer them for tests.

Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer in men and women in the UK, with 13 people dying of the condition every day. Kidney Cancer UK believes that misdiagnosis occurs in a quarter of cases and may be a key factor in the late diagnosis of the disease.

Over two-fifths, (42%) of tumours reach stage three or four by the time they are diagnosed and a significant majority (83%) of patients are forced to have their whole kidney removed to treat the disease.

Nick Turkentine, CEO of Kidney Cancer UK, concluded: “As the UK’s leading kidney cancer charity, our focus is on reducing the harm caused by kidney cancer for patients, their families, and reducing its prevalence and impact for future generations. We hope that our latest patient report findings will shine a light on the importance of early diagnosis, to both patients and medical professionals, so that survival rates improve.

“Education around the disease is one of the best methods of prevention, so we are urging people to look out for the symptoms associated with kidney cancer, visit their GP if they show any concerning signs. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the symptoms that can be associated with kidney cancer, they are blood in the urine (no matter how little), long-term pain in the back or flank and fatigue. Lots of helpful information is available on the Kidney Cancer UK website.”

Meanwhile, combining immunotherapy and targeted drugs is regarded as the best way to improve survival in advanced kidney cancer.