Objective: The five Nordic countries comprise 25 million people, and have similar treatment traditions and healthcare systems. To take advantage of these similarities, a collaborative group (Nordic Renal Cancer Group, NORENCA) was founded in 2015.
Materials and methods: A questionnaire of 17 questions on renal tumor management and surgical education was designed and sent to 91 institutions performing renal tumor surgery in 2015. The response rate was 68% (62 hospitals), including 28 academic, 25 central and nine district hospitals. Hospital volume was defined as low (LVH: < 20 operations), intermediate (IVH: 20-49 operations), high (HVH: 50-99) and very high (VHVH: ≥ 100). Descriptive statistics were performed.
Results: Fifteen centers were LVH, 16 IVH, 21 HVH and 10 VHVH. Of all 3828 kidney tumor treatments, 55% were radical nephrectomies (RNs), 37% partial nephrectomies (PNs) and 8% thermoablations. For RN and PN, the percentages of open, laparoscopic and robotic approaches were 47%, 40%, 13% and 47%, 20%, 33%, respectively. The mean complication rate (Clavien-Dindo 3-5) was 4.9%, and 30 day mortality (TDM) was 0.5%. The median length of hospital stay was 4 days. Training with a simulator, black box or animal laboratory was possible in 48%, 74% and 21% of institutions, respectively.
Conclusions: Despite some differences between countries, the data suggest an overall general common Nordic treatment attitude for renal tumors. Furthermore, the data demonstrate high adherence to international standards, with a high proportion of PN and acceptable rates for major complications and TDM.
Keywords: Complication; kidney cancer; minimally invasive methods; mortality; nephrectomy; surgery.