Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer, What you Need to Know

Hearing the words “you have cancer” is likely something you will never forget. While it may be shocking and disheartening, it’s important to gather all the information you can about the type of cancer you have so you know what to expect. Although you might not hear that much about kidney cancer, it’s actually among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. Overall, the lifetime risk for developing kidney cancer in men is about 1 in 46 (2.02%). The lifetime risk for women is about 1 in 80 (1.03%).  Scientists have found several risk factors that could make you more likely to develop kidney cancer, here are just some of the many risk factors that could contribute to kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.



Smoking increases the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The increased risk seems to be related to how much you smoke. The risk drops if you stop smoking, but it takes many years to get to the risk level of someone who never smoked.



People who are very overweight have a higher risk of developing RCC. Obesity may cause changes in certain hormones that can lead to RCC.


High blood pressure

The risk of kidney cancer is higher in people with high blood pressure. This risk does not seem to be lowered even if someone is taking medicines to treat the high blood pressure. 


Family history of kidney cancer

People with a strong family history of renal cell cancer (without one of the known inherited conditions listed below) have a higher chance of developing this cancer. This risk is highest for people who have a brother or sister with the cancer. It’s not clear whether this is due to shared genes, something that both people were exposed to in the environment, or both.


Workplace exposures

Many studies have suggested that workplace exposure to certain substances, such as trichloroethylene, increases the risk for RCC.



RCC is about twice as common in men as in women. Men are more likely to be smokers and are more likely to be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals at work, which may account for some of the difference.



African Americans have a slightly higher rate of RCC than do whites. The reasons for this are not clear.


Certain medicines

Acetaminophen: Some studies have suggested that acetaminophen, a common pain medicine, may be linked to an increase in the risk of RCC.


Advanced kidney disease

People with advanced kidney disease, especially those needing dialysis, have a higher risk of RCC. (Dialysis is a treatment used to remove toxins from your body if your kidneys do not work properly.)


If you are diagnosed with kidney cancer, the type of treatment(s) your doctor recommends will depend on the stage of the cancer and on your overall health. The Michigan Institute of Urology is one of the longest standing and largest sub-specialty Urology practices in the State of Michigan, we are dedicated to providing our patients the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art urologic care. Our specialists have been recruited from the most sophisticated university centers in the United States and are available at all of our 22 office locations. Our administrative staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the most cost-effective medical care is provided. Michigan Institute of Urology, P.C., comprises 46 General and Fellowship Trained Urologists with a complement of compassionate, caring Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Medical Assistants, and Ancillary Personnel. 





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