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Incidence of Kidney Cancer in California: Rising or Declining?

Signaling perhaps the end of a trend, the high incidence of small kidney tumors and early-stage disease seen in California up until about 2009 has declined and stabilized in recent years, according to Cyllene R. Morris, PhD, of the Institute of Population Health Improvement, University of California Davis Health System, and colleagues. This finding, which was published in Kidney Cancer, is from the first report to show that the rising rate of kidney cancer observed in the United States over the past 20 years may have ended.

The investigators used the California Cancer Registry to evaluate the records of 77,363 confirmed cases of kidney cancer diagnosed in California from 1988 to 2013. Through their analysis, they found that the incidence of renal cell carcinoma increased by about 1.5% per year from 1988 to 2000, rose by about 4.8% per year until 2008, and then stabilized. In addition, the number of patients receiving partial nephrectomy increased from 6.3% in 1988 to 56% in 2013.

In an attempt to explain this changing trend, the authors concluded that the decreased use of advanced diagnostic imaging may play a key role. Earlier trends in renal cell carcinoma were consistent with the incidental discovery of small tumors, they added.