Kidney Cancer Prevention
When it comes to kidney cancer, prevention strategies involve avoiding the risk factors for the disease that you have some control over. Risk factors for kidney cancer that you can control include such things as smoking, having high blood pressure, being obese, and misusing certain pain medications. While avoiding these risk factors may reduce the chance of developing the disease, they do not completely eliminate it; there is no guarantee that avoiding such risk factors as part of kidney cancer prevention will keep a person from developing the disease.
Anything that increases a person's chances of developing kidney cancer is called a kidney cancer risk factor. Kidney cancer prevention involves avoiding the risk factors that can be controlled. While kidney cancer prevention does not guarantee that someone will not develop kidney cancer, it will decrease the chances of getting the disease.
This article uses the term "kidney cancer" to refer to renal cell carcinoma, which is the most common type of kidney cancer.
[To learn more about other types of kidney cancer, click Wilms' Tumor or Transitional Cell Carcinoma (of the Ureter and Renal Pelvis)]
Some of the risk factors for kidney cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. Specific kidney cancer risk factors include:
- Being obese
- Having high blood pressure
- Undergoing long-term dialysis
- Having von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (a rare hereditary disease)
- Having hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma
- Occupational exposure to such things as blast furnaces, coke ovens, asbestos, and cadmium
- Being male
- Misusing certain pain medicines (including over-the-counter drugs) for a long time.
(Click Kidney Cancer Risk Factors to learn more about these specific risk factors.)