Purpose We determined the relationship between the prevalence of metastasis at presentation and cancer specific mortality with tumor size in renal cancer cases using a large cancer database. Materials and Methods The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results data set was analyzed for renal tumors diagnosed from 1998 to 2003. A total of 24,253 patients were included. The prevalence of metastasis and cancer specific survival as a function of tumor size were evaluated using linear and nonlinear curve fitting methods. Metastatic cases with tumors 2.5 cm or less were individually reconfirmed case by case for accuracy. Results Increasing tumor size correlated with a higher prevalence of metastasis at diagnosis (range 1.4% for tumors 1 cm or less to 50.9% for tumors greater than 15 cm). Five-year cancer specific mortality in treated patients was also closely related to tumor size (range 3.5% for tumors 1 cm or less to 50.9% for tumors greater than 15 cm). In each instance the relationship was sigmoidal rather than linear and it was best modeled using a quadratic function. The most rapid increase in the prevalence of metastasis and mortality was noted for tumors 4 to 12 cm. In treated patients with tumors 1 cm or less, 1.1 to 2, 2.1 to 3 and 3.1 to 4 the prevalence of metastasis at diagnosis was 1.4%, 2.5%, 4.7% and 7.4%, and the 5-year cancer specific mortality rate was 3.5%, 3.8%, 4.1% and 5.3%, respectively. Conclusions In cases of renal cancer the prevalence of metastasis at presentation and 5-year cancer specific mortality increase in a nonlinear sigmoidal relationship with tumor size.