Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is one of the top ten most common cancers in both men and women. While the exact causes of it are unknown, there are several risk factors that may increase your chances of developing the disease. Start a search to learn more about this disease.
Prevalence of Kidney Cancer
It is estimated that in 2023, there will be approximately 81,800 new cases of kidney cancer in the United States alone. Below, we will explore the leading risk factors for kidney cancer and discuss how they contribute to the development of this form of cancer.
As with many cancers, the risk of developing kidney cancer increases as you get older. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of diagnosis for kidney cancer is 64 years old. In fact, over 70% of people diagnosed with kidney cancer are over the age of 55.
Smoking is a well-known risk factor for many types of cancer, including kidney cancer. Smokers are twice as likely to develop kidney cancer as nonsmokers. Additionally, the risk of kidney cancer decreases after you quit smoking, although it may take several years for the risk to return to that of a nonsmoker.
Obesity is another risk factor for kidney cancer. Studies have shown that obese individuals are at a higher risk of developing kidney cancer compared to those with a healthy weight. In fact, obesity may account for up to 25% of kidney cancer cases. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can help reduce your risk of developing kidney cancer.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that can increase your risk of kidney cancer. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, individuals with high blood pressure have a 30% higher risk of developing kidney cancer compared to those with normal blood pressure.
If you have a family history of kidney cancer, you may be at a higher risk of developing the disease yourself. Inherited conditions such as Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease and hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma (HPRCC) can increase your risk of kidney cancer. If you have a family history of kidney cancer, talk to your doctor about your risk and any necessary screening.
Reduce Your Risk
While these are some of the top risk factors for kidney cancer, it is important to remember that not everyone with these risk factors will develop the disease. Additionally, some individuals without any of these risk factors may still develop kidney cancer. If you are concerned about your risk of developing kidney cancer, talk to your doctor about any necessary screening or lifestyle changes that may help reduce your risk.