There is no way to fully prevent kidney cancer, but a person may lower their risk through strategies such as maintaining a moderate weight and quitting smoking, if applicable.
Kidney cancer, or renal cancer, is one of the most common cancers affecting adults in the United States and the 14th most common cancer worldwide.
Several factors can affect a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer. People can prevent or modify some of these factors but not others. Although there is no way to fully prevent kidney cancer, avoiding preventable risk factors may help reduce a person’s chance of getting the disease.
This article explores different steps a person can take to prevent kidney cancer and its risk factors.
Healthcare professionals do not know the exact cause of kidney cancer, but certain factors may increase a person’s chance of developing the disease. A person can modify some of these factors but not all of them.
Below are non-preventable risk factors of kidney cancer:
- Sex: Kidney cancer is
two times more commonin males than in females.
- Ethnicity: African Americans, American Indians, and Alaska Natives have a
higher riskof developing kidney cancer.
- Age: People most commonly receive a kidney cancer diagnosis between ages 65 and 74. This type of cancer is rare in people under age 45.
- Family history: Individuals who have parents, children, or siblings with kidney cancer may have a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Inherited or genetic diseases: Some people inherit genes that can increase their risk of developing rare conditions that have a link with types of kidney cancer. These conditions include Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, and familial renal cancer.
- Kidney disease: Some research suggests that people who undergo long-term dialysis for end stage kidney disease have a
1.3-foldincreased risk of developing kidney cancer, while other sources suggest as much as a fivefold increased risk. Kidney transplant recipients taking immunosuppressant medications are also at risk of developing kidney cancer.
Learn more about the symptoms of kidney cancer in males.
The following are changeable risk factors that
- obesity or overweight status
- high blood pressure
- certain medications
- workplace exposures to some substances
Smoking tobacco significantly increases the risk that kidney cancer may occur and lead to death. If a person smokes, stopping smoking can reduce their risk of developing kidney cancer and dying from it.
Smoking is responsible for 6% of kidney cancer deaths in developed countries. Compared with people who have never smoked, those who currently smoke have a 30% increased risk of the disease and former smokers have a 15% increased risk.
According to a 2015 study, high body mass index (BMI) accounts for
Learn more about measuring BMI for different ages.
A BMI score of 25 or above increases a person’s chance of developing kidney cancer, while a BMI of 30 or higher can pose a particularly high risk.
Learn more about how to calculate your BMI.
If necessary, making efforts to reach or maintain a moderate weight — such as consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and staying physically active — can help reduce the risk of kidney cancer.
There is also a positive association between high blood pressure (hypertension) and kidney cancer. The risk
Healthcare professionals do not know for certain whether the condition or the medication is responsible for the increased risk.
Regular physical activity or exercise can help
Studies show a strong relationship between kidney injury and kidney tumors.
People with diabetes should aim to manage their blood sugar. High blood sugar can
Exposure to certain toxins such as these may increase a person’s risk of kidney cancer:
A person should inform a healthcare professional if they have a family history of kidney cancer. A healthcare professional
Genetic testing can also help determine whether a person or a family has a genetic mutation that causes a condition with a connection to a particular kidney cancer. This can help a healthcare professional develop the appropriate cancer screening plan and determine the best treatment options.
A person who experiences the
- blood in urine
- low back pain on one side
- loss of appetite
- unexplained weight loss
- a fever that does not go away
- a lump on the side or lower back
There is no complete way to prevent kidney cancer, but awareness of the risk factors may reduce a person’s chances of developing the disease.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing high blood pressure, minimizing workplace exposure to chemicals, and preventing kidney damage can help lower the risk of kidney cancer.
A person with an increased risk of kidney cancer should consult a healthcare professional for monitoring and testing to ensure early detection. Individuals who experience kidney cancer symptoms should contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible.