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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Causes of kidney cancer

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes kidney cancer and for many people the cause is never found, but a number of things are known to increase the risk of developing it.

Cigarette smoking This may increase the risk by as much as double for some people. The longer a person smokes for and the more cigarettes they smoke, the greater the risk.

Being overweight (obese) People who weigh at least a quarter (25%) more than is recommended for their height have a higher than average risk of getting kidney cancer.

Some medical conditions, such as having high blood pressure (hypertension) may increase the risk. People with advanced kidney disease, especially those who need to have dialysis, have a higher risk of developing kidney cancer.

Exposure to certain materials at work may affect a person’s risk. Working with blast furnaces or coke-ovens, in the steel and coal industries has been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer. Being exposed to cadmium, lead or asbestos at work may also increase risk.

Most kidney cancers aren’t inherited but occasionally, two or more members of the same family develop kidney cancer. If this happens, other members of the family may have a higher than average risk of getting kidney cancer.

There are some rare conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, where an inherited faulty gene increases the risk of developing kidney cancer. Kidney cancers that develop because of inherited faulty genes have some differences from other kidney cancers. They are more likely to cause several tumours and to affect both kidneys. They are also more likely to happen at a younger age than other kidney cancers.

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