What are the risk factors for kidney cancer?

Smoking is the key risk factor for kidney cancer. Other risk factors include:

  • Misusing certain pain medicines for a long period of time
  • Being overweight
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as asbestos or cadmium
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having a family history of kidney cancer
  • Having advanced kidney disease or long-term kidney dialysis
  • Having certain genetic (inherited) conditions including von Hippel-Lindau disease or hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma

What can you do to prevent kidney cancer?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent cancer. However, you can reduce your risk for kidney cancer by:

  • Not using tobacco. Speak with your doctor if you need help quitting.
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist about what you should include in a healthy diet.
  • Keeping a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for you.
  • Asking your doctor about genetic testing and screening recommendations if you have an inherited disease that increases your risk for kidney cancer
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