Understanding risk factors of kidney cancer and how to prevent it

Understand the risk factors for kidney cancer and how to prevent it

Although it is impossible to completely evade the risk of kidney cancer, certain lifestyle modifications can certainly play a major role in reducing risk factors.

Kidney cancer awareness.

Kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body which plays a major role in maintaining balance in the body by removing all the toxins and wastes from the blood. If something happens to the kidneys, the whole body will be thrown out of balance and other organs are most likely to suffer. Although many conditions can affect the kidney and its functioning, kidney cancer is an emerging problem seen in people of different age groups.

Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common types of cancer that can affect both men and women. In adults, the most common type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma (RCC), also known as renal cell carcinoma, in which cancer cells grow uncontrollably in the lining of the kidney tubules. RCC is responsible for nearly 180,000 deaths per year worldwide. Apart from this, Wilms tumor, another type of kidney cancer, is more prevalent in young children.

Know the risks

Kidney cancer causes kidney cells to mutate, which leads to rapid division of cancer cells. Although the exact cause of kidney cancer is unknown, certain factors play a major role in increasing risk factors. Some of them include:

  • Smoking: Smoking has been found to double the risk of kidney cancer in adults. A person who smokes regularly has a higher risk of this condition than a non-smoker.
  • Age: Older people are at a higher risk of contracting this disease, and as age increases, the risk factors also increase. It has been seen that this condition is usually diagnosed between the age of 50 to 70 years.
  • Obesity: Being overweight not only invites other major health problems, but also increases the risk of kidney cancer.
  • Hypertension: It is not only responsible for heart problems but also contributes to kidney cancer due to drug side effects.
  • Treatment of kidney failure: Long-term dialysis is linked to a higher risk of kidney cancer in people with chronic kidney disease.
  • Family history: People born with certain inherited syndromes or a family history of kidney problems are at higher risk for kidney cancer.


Although it is impossible to completely evade the risk of kidney cancer, certain lifestyle modifications can certainly play a major role in reducing risk factors. Some of them include:

  • Stop smoking: As smoking pushes a person towards kidney cancer, it is advisable to quit this deadly habit. One can seek the help of doctors for medications or nicotine replacement products to stop this habit.
  • Manage a healthy weight: A healthy BMI should be managed to reduce the risk of kidney cancer and other health problems. If one already suffers from obesity, it is advisable to start physical exercises. One can also take the help of experts to discover healthy strategies to lose weight.
  • Manage blood pressure: One should keep a check on the blood pressure levels daily. If a person already has high blood pressure, sticking to medications and making lifestyle changes is recommended.
  • Routine check: In most cases, kidney cancer becomes fatal due to a delay in treatment and diagnosis. Therefore, it is recommended to get into the habit of having regular health check-ups to detect any potential risk factors at the earliest.

The author is Consultant, Urology, Manipal Hospital, Gurugram. Views are personal.

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