Kidney Cancer Causes Risk Factors Smoking

Researchers have yet to identify the exact causes of kidney cancer. What experts do know, however, is that smoking is one of the factors that raise a person’s risk of developing kidney cancer. Luckily, a person can reduce his chance of developing kidney cancer by avoiding tobacco products and limiting exposure to secondhand smoke.

Renal Cell Carcinoma and Smoking

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common form of kidney cancer. Studies show that smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop this type of kidney cancer. In addition to RCC, smokers are more likely to develop:

  • Renal failure: This condition causes the kidneys to shut down, either slowly or quickly. Renal failure is a life-threatening condition.
  • Renal sarcomas: Renal sarcomas are rare and attack the kidney’s connective tissues.
  • Transitional cell carcinomas: Transitional cell carcinomas are a less common form of kidney cancer that is found in connecting tubes in the kidneys and the bladder. Tobacco use is a leading cause of this type of cancer.

Nicotine and the Kidneys

The kidneys are located in the back of the abdomen, to the left and right of the spine. These two fist-sized organs are responsible for filtering waste and passing it along in the form of urine to the bladder through tubes called ureters.

When nicotine from tobacco products enters the body, dangerous chemicals, tars and carbon monoxide cause a number of physical changes, including changes in heart rate, circulation, blood pressure and respiration. These changes can lead directly to kidney damage.

In addition, the carcinogens found in nicotine filter through the kidneys and then pass into the bladder for eventual excretion. These carcinogens can damage the tissues in the kidneys.

Kidney Cancer Prognosis and Smoking

If caught early, the prognosis for kidney cancer is good, and the chance for survival is high. Even tumors that have spread beyond the kidneys are often treatable.

An individual who smokes and has received a kidney cancer diagnosis can still make lifestyle changes that better his chances for a successful outcome. Smokers who have been diagnosed with kidney cancer should:

  • Eat a diet that is rich in protein and fiber and low in sugar and fat.
  • Get regular exercise. Talk to your doctor about establishing an exercise program that is healthy for your particular case.
  • Talk to their doctors about methods to help them quit smoking.
  • Use stress-reduction therapies to improve both mind and body. These therapies are especially helpful to those who are trying to quit smoking.

Improving Health to Lower Kidney Cancer Risk

In addition to avoiding tobacco products, people can take the following steps to reduce their risk of ever developing kidney cancer:

  • Avoid secondhand smoke: Some reports suggest that emissions from a burning cigarette are more dangerous than the inhaled smoke. To stay as healthy as possible, minimize your exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Eat right: Eating the proper foods will help you stay active and healthy. The antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables have been proven effective in fighting cancer.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help you lower your blood pressure and keep you at an ideal weight, both of which can help prevent kidney cancer.
  • Maintain an ideal weight: Maintaining proper weight is key to avoiding kidney cancer. Overweight individuals are in a high-risk category for kidney cancer.
  • Schedule regular physical exams: Regular exams are essential for diagnosing and treating a number of ailments, as well as for maintaining good general health.

Resources (2007). Diseases and Conditions: Kidney Cancer. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from the CNN Web site: (n.d.). What’s in Cigarettes? Retrieved July 10, 2007 from the EhealthMD Web site: (2006). Smoking raises breast, kidney cancer risks. Retrieved July 10, 2007, from the Women Fitness Web site: