Each year, about 50,000 men and 30,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with kidney cancer. Almost 15,000 die from the disease annually. Although kidney cancer is relatively rare compared with other forms of cancer (e.g., 150,000 cases of colon cancer per year), your personal and familial history may put you in a greater risk category.
When you know your personal risk, you can take steps to prevent its development. You can also ensure that, if you get kidney cancer, you catch it in an early, more treatable phase.
Alex Lesani, MD, is an expert urologist who screens for diagnoses and treats kidney cancer at our offices in Las Vegas, Nevada. He uses da Vinci® robotic surgery to remove kidney tumors or, in severe cases, the entire affected kidney.
How severe is your risk for kidney cancer? Read the following to find out.
You have an unhealthy lifestyle
Many of the risk factors for kidney cancer are the same for other types of cancers as well as other serious and even life-threatening conditions. Lifestyle choices that may put you into the high-risk category for kidney cancer include:
- High blood pressure
- Environmental toxins
Lifestyle-related risk factors for kidney cancer can be controlled. With help, and perhaps referrals to specialists, you can stop smoking and adopt a healthier lifestyle to shed dangerous, stressful excess pounds.
Losing weight and quitting smoking should help manage your blood pressure and lower your risk for kidney cancer. If you work around cancer-causing chemicals, such as trichloroethylene or cadmium, talk to your employer or union about protective strategies or consider a career change.
You are older, male, or Black
Lifestyle factors can be controlled, but other risk factors for kidney cancer are simply a matter of fate and even longevity. The longer you live, in fact, the more your risk for kidney cancer increases.
You’re also more at risk for kidney cancer if you’re male. This is thought to be related more to lifestyle choices, such as smoking and chemical exposure, than to hormonal differences between women and men.
For unknown reasons, Black individuals are more susceptible to kidney cancer than other races. If you’re Black, be sure to lower your risk by adopting healthy lifestyle choices and getting screened when appropriate.
You have familial risk factors
Another uncontrollable risk factor has to do with your genetics. You may have inherited certain conditions that raise your chances for kidney cancer, including:
- von Hippel-Lindau disease
- Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma
- Hereditary leiomyoma-renal cell carcinoma
- Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome
- Familial renal cancer
- Cowden syndrome
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Sickle cell trait and disease
Kidney cancer is usually painless in its early stages. If you have genetic risk factors for the disease, Dr. Lesani recommends periodic ultrasound screening to increase the chances of finding potential tumors early.
You have a history of kidney disease
If you have a history of kidney disease, particularly if you must undergo dialysis, your risk for kidney cancer increases. Dr. Lesani keeps tabs on your overall kidney health if you’re under treatment for other types of kidney conditions.
Are you at risk for kidney cancer? Be sure you get the screenings and preventive steps you need to stay healthy by calling our team for a kidney evaluation at 702-470-2579. You can also book your appointment online.