10 Kidney Cancer Risk Factors to Avoid Immediately




Risk factors are the inherited or acquired factors that increase the chance of developing cancer in a person. Several epidemiological studies have suggested a number of genetic and environmental factors that may predispose to kidney cancer. A knowledge about them helps us to make necessary lifestyle choices.

To further understand the disease in a better way, have a look at the video below where CancerBro meets Mr. Kenny who has recently being diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Video Transcript:

To understand the disease better, we’ll meet Mr. Kenny, who has recently been diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Mr. Kenny was having pain in abdomen and red coloured urine for last few days. For these complaints, he consulted his doctor and was admitted in hospital for treatment, lets meet him.

CancerBro: Hi Mr. Kenny, how are you feeling today?
Mr. Kenny: CancerBro, I was very worried when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, but after talking to you, I am feeling better.

CancerBro: What work do you do Mr. Kenny?
Mr. Kenny: I work in a factory where I am continuously exposed to organic compounds.

CancerBro: Do you have a habit of smoking?
Mr. Kenny: Yes CancerBro, I smoke almost a pack daily for more than last 15 years.

CancerBro: Did you have any kidney problem previously, or underwent treatment for the same?
Mr. Kenny: I was on long term dialysis for end-stage kidney disease.

CancerBro: Did you receive any long term treatment with painkillers, or any blood pressure reducing medicines previously?
Mr. Kenny: Yes CancerBro, I was on hypertensive medications for past many years.

CancerBro: Have anyone in your family been diagnosed with kidney or any other cancer previously?
Mr. Kenny: No, I am the first person in my family to have cancer.
CancerBro: Okay Mr. Kenny, thank you very much.

I think you people must have got an idea how a patient of kidney cancer presents, and what are the risk factors for the disease.

Kidney Cancer Risk Factors explained with Video

Video Transcript:

CancerBro, can you please discuss the risk factors for kidney cancer in detail?

Kidney cancer is slightly more commonly seen in American Indians, Alaskan natives, and African Americans, especially in obese males.

Smoking is a risk factor for the disease, and incidence increases with duration and intensity of smoking.

Industrial exposure to certain heavy metals and organic compounds also increases the risk for kidney cancer.

People with advanced kidney disease, specially those needing repeated dialysis or kidney transplant are at higher risk of kidney cancer.

History of kidney cancer in family may also increase the risk in other family members.

So these were the risk factors for kidney cancer. These factors, if keep in mind, may help in reducing the risk of the disease.

Kidney Cancer Risk Factors

Kidney Cancer Risk Factors

Tobacco/Cigarette Smoking

Tobacco-Cigarette Smoking

Smoking exposes the body to various carcinogens that increase the risk of kidney cancer by about 38%. This has been identified as one of the major risk factors for kidney cancer and cessation of smoking may prevent kidney cancer.



Many studies have suggested that obesity increases the risk of kidney cancer, which has been postulated due to dysregulation of sex hormones, insulin metabolism, or the immune system in obese individuals.

Overuse of pain-killers 

Overuse of pain-killers

Excessive use of analgesics like phenacetin, and certain diuretics has been reported to increase the risk of developing kidney cancer.

Industrial/Occupational exposure

exposure to certain chemicals

Chronic exposure to certain heavy metals like cadmium or other harmful chemicals like benzidine, pesticides, herbicides, asbestos, and trichloroethylene that are generally encountered in dry cleaning and metal industry, have been found to increase the risk of kidney cancer.

Kidney failure/Transplant/Dialysis

kidney failure - Transplant - Dialysis

Individuals with a history of end-stage kidney disease, especially those who require repeated dialysis, are considered to be at a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.

Family history

Family history

Risk of developing kidney cancer increases in individuals with a family history of kidney cancer in close relatives. The risk further increases with the increase in the number of relatives diagnosed.

Genetic Cancer Predisposition Syndromes

Genetic Cancer Predisposition Syndromes

Some inherited cancer predisposition syndromes have been reported to be associated with a high incidence rate of kidney cancer. Following are some examples: von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (caused by mutations in the VHL gene); hereditary papillary RCC (caused by mutation in the METgene); hereditary leiomyoma RCC (caused by mutation in the FH gene); Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD, caused by mutation in FLCN gene), tuberous sclerosis (caused by mutation in the TSC1 and TSC2 genes); and Cowden syndrome (caused by mutation in the PTEN gene).

Other Factors

Older age individuals, males, and African Americans or Alaska Natives are more likely to have kidney cancer.

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