Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a type of kidney cancer that usually originates in the lining of the tubules of the kidney and contains many blood vessels. RCC accounts for 90% of kidney cancers and approximately 3% of all adult cancers. In England and Wales, kidney cancer is the 8th most common cancer in men and the 14th most common in women. In 2004, there were 5,745 cases of newly diagnosed kidney cancer registered in England and Wales. The incidence of kidney cancer begins to rise after the age of 40 and is highest in people older than 65. In England and Wales, the estimated overall 5-year survival rate for RCC is 44%, but there are large differences according to the stage of disease at the time of diagnosis. The worldwide incidence of kidney cancer among both men and women has been rising steadily since the 1970s.