Like most cancers, kidney cancer is caused by mutations that accumulate over time in your body. Like most other cancers, kidney cancer most often arises in older people and it is mostly a disease seen in adults over 40. There are a number of other risk factors that are important in the development of kidney cancer:
- Smoking: Smoking doubles the risk of developing kidney cancer. Quitting at any time, at any age is a great idea. It’s never too late.
- Gender: Men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with kidney cancer as women.
- Obesity: Being very overweight or obese appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing kidney cancer in both men and women.
- High blood pressure (hypertension): High blood pressure has been found to be a risk factor for kidney cancer.
- Kidney stones: Having kidney stones is associated with a higher risk of developing kidney cancer in men.
- Occupational exposure to toxic compounds: People regularly exposed to certain chemicals may have an increased risk of kidney cancer. These include asbestos, lead, cadmium, dry-cleaning solvents, herbicides, benzene or organic solvents and petroleum products, as well as people who work in the iron and steel industries.
- Long-term dialysis and acquired cystic disease: Being on dialysis treatment over a long period of time may cause kidney cysts. Kidney cancer may develop from the cells that line these cysts.