Kidney Cancer Causes Risk Factors Obesity

While experts remain unsure as to the exact causes of kidney cancer, they do know that several factors contribute to the development of this condition. Along with hypertension (high blood pressure) and smoking, obesity is at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, high blood pressure and obesity are rising dramatically in some areas of the world. Luckily, you can take certain measures to reduce or prevent both conditions from developing and seriously affecting your heath.

Kidney Cancer Risk Factors

Many factors increase the risks of developing kidney cancers, including:

  • being between the ages of 50 and 70
  • being male (Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with kidney cancer.)
  • being overweight or obese (Research suggests that people who are more than 100 pounds overweight are 20 percent more likely than the general population to develop kidney cancer.)

In addition, high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer because hypertension directly impacts the kidneys. When untreated, the irregular force of blood flow can cause kidney deterioration. One of the recommended ways to avoid high blood pressure is to maintain a healthy weight.

Combating Obesity and Kidney Cancer

Obesity is often the result of a high-fat diet and a sedentary lifestyle. However, heredity certain medical conditions and the use of some medications can also contribute to the extreme weight gain associated with obesity.

When a person is overweight, his kidneys must work harder to function. Over time, they begin to become less resilient. In fact, some overweight individuals may experience renal failure.

To determine if a person is overweight or obese, a doctor will measure his body mass index (BMI). A BMI uses a person’s weight and height to determine weight status. It is important to note than BMI does not measure lean body mass (i.e. muscle mass). For example, a muscular person with a low percentage of body fat, such as a bodybuilder, can have a BMI that places him in the obese range.

Here’s a breakdown of BMI numbers:

  • People with BMIs of 19 to 24.9 are considered to be at a health weight.
  • People with BMIs of 25 to 29.9 are considered to be overweight.
  • People with BMIs of 30 to 39.9 are considered to be obese.
  • People with BMIs of more than 40 are considered to be morbidly obese.

People with a high BMI are at a dramatically increased risk for kidney disease.

Combating Obesity

Doctors suggest people exercise and eat a healthy diet to prevent kidney cancer. Talk to your physician about establishing a weight loss plan and exercise routine if you are overweight. A weight loss of even 5 percent can have a huge impact on your health.

To help shed pounds, many people turn to a dietitian. Dietitians can help you:

  • highlight your unhealthy eating habits
  • outline meal plans
  • pinpoint your eating triggers
  • recommend healthful food items.

If you are very overweight, your doctor might be able to prescribe a medication to help with your weight loss. He may also be able to suggest surgical options for weight loss.

Obesity and Other Health Issues

Extra weight can put you at risk for a number of conditions besides kidney disease. These include:

  • acid reflux disease
  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • gallbladder disease
  • heart disease
  • liver problems
  • sleep apnea.

In addition to kidney cancer, obesity may contribute to the development of:

  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • gallbladder cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • uterine cancer.

Obese individuals are also more likely to develop other kidney-related diseases. For instance, kidney stones are prevalent in overweight individuals of all ages. Some experts suggest that this could be due to the fact that people with a high BMI may produce higher amounts of uric acid and calcium than those with low BMIs.

Resources (n.d). Obesity and Cancer: Questions and Answers. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from the National Cancer Institute Web site: (2007). What Are the Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer (Renal Cell Carcinoma)? Retrieved July 10, 2007 from the National Cancer Institute Web site: (2007). Kidney Cancer. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from the NetWellness Web site: