Kidney Cancer Risk Factors

What are the risk factors for kidney/renal cell cancer?

The exact cause of renal cell cancer is unknown. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of the disease. These risk factors, according to the American Cancer Society, are as follows:

  • smoking Smoking increases the risk of kidney cancer. The risk seems related to the amount you smoke.
  • asbestos Studies show a link between exposure to asbestos and kidney cancer.
  • cadmium There may be a link between cadmium exposure and kidney cancer. Cadmium may increase the cancer-causing effect of smoking.
  • family history Family history of kidney cancer increases a person's risk.
  • gender Men are twice as likely to develop renal cell cancer than women.
  • von Hippel-Lindau syndrome This is a disease caused by a gene mutation that increases the chances of renal cell cancer.
  • tuberous sclerosis Patients who have this disease are more likely to develop renal cell cancer.
  • diet A high-fat diet increases a person's risk of kidney cancer.
  • obesity Obesity increases a person's risk of kidney cancer.
  • long-term dialysis Patients who have been on dialysis for a long time may develop kidney cysts, which may be one cause of renal cell cancer.
  • high blood pressure Patients who are overweight and have high blood pressure may have a risk for kidney cancer that is three times greater than patients who are not overweight and who have normal blood pressure.
  • diuretics (water pills) Drugs that eliminate excess body fluid have been linked to kidney cancer.
  • race African Americans have a slightly higher risk of kidney cancer.

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