Kidney cancer is a multifactorial disease; several factors seem to contribute to its development. However, the two main risk factors of kidney cancer are tobacco and hypertension. The longer you smoke or suffer from an untreated hypertension, the higher is your risk. Other factors suspected in the development of kidney cancer include:
- Age – kidney cancer is diagnosed mainly after 50 years; if you are 60 or older, your risk is even higher.
- Sex – kidney cancer affects more men than women; the disease is estimated to be three times more common among men.
- Certain occupations – you are at greater risk of kidney cancer if you work in an industry that implements or manufactures iron and steel from ore;
- Chemicals in workplace – if your job constantly exposes you to oil derivatives, heavy metals and asbestos, your chances of becoming a victim of kidney cancer increases;
- Obesity – if you are obese/overweight, you have a higher risk for developing renal cell carcinoma;
- Certain medications – prolonged use of phenacetin, a painkiller, is linked to kidney cancer. Fortunately, the drug has been removed from the market in the United States since early 1980s.
- Treatment for kidney failure – if you had a kidney transplant or dialysis for a long period to treat chronic kidney failure, you are at higher risk to develop kidney cancer.
- Genetic mutation – certain inherited diseases such Von Hippel-Lindau disease tends to contribute to the development of many cancers, including renal cell carcinoma.