Our kidneys are the natural filters of our body, and their optimal functioning is essential to sustain a healthy life. They continuously work to remove metabolic waste, preventing it’s accumulation. They also contribute to sustain normal fluid status by reabsorbing water in their tubules according to the changing needs. Many among us are not aware of the fact that kidneys play a crucial role in erythropoiesis or the production of red blood cells, Vitamin D synthesis an important requirement of calcium absorption to keep our bones and teeth stronger and blood pressure regulation. Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. V Kavita, Regional Chief of lab, Tamil Nadu and APT, to know about the risks of kidney cancer.
It is true that cancer can affect kidneys, sometimes both of them like any other organ in our body and fortunately some of the risk factors for developing Renal cell carcinoma are modifiable while on the other hand some are unmodifiable like age as Sporadic RCC is a disease of older adults. The average age of diagnosis in the developed world is in the sixth decade of life but can even develop in younger individuals in exceptional cases. As with most cancers RCC is more common in men as they are nearly twice as vulnerable as women. Read further to know about the risks of kidney cancer.
Risks of kidney cancer
As for as modifiable risk factors are concerned Tobacco smoking is one of few modifiable risk factors for RCC (and largely the most significant), similar to lung cancer and bladder cancer. According to Dr. Kavita, here are the main risk factors of kidney cancer:
Obesity is another important factor has found a consistent association between increased body mass index (BMI) and risk of RCC, much like with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and many other neoplasms. While the precise pathogenesis remains un-elucidated, obesity promotes resistance to insulin and insulin-like growth factor- facilitating uncontrolled tumour growth, releases inflammatory cytokines, and disrupts metabolic homeostasis leading to the over-production of DNA damaging free radicals.
Also adding roughly 5 kg in body weight could increase RCC risk by 25% in men and 35% in women and healthy weight reduction has proven beneficial effect.
On the positive side research has proven that risk significantly reduces among those who had quit smoking. Coincidentally continued cigarette smoking after RCC diagnosis has also been associated with significantly worsened overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in advanced disease.
Cigarette smoke contains many carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and beta-naphthylamine, as well as the highly addictive neurotransmitter modulating substance nicotine. As they are filtered through the nephron, these particles are metabolized and promote inflammation and induce DNA damage, paving the way for carcinogenesis.
3. High blood pressure
People who suffer from high blood pressure problems are also prone to higher chance of getting kidney cancer. This risk cannot be lowered even if someone is taking medications for high BP treatment.
4. Family history
People who have a strong family history of renal cell cancer or kidney cancer are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer. However, it is not yet known whether this happens because of shared genes, something that both people were exposed to in the environment.