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Everything You Need to Know About Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer is among the ten most common cancers in men and women. It is a challenging thing to go through or to watch people you know go through – especially if you don’t know what is going on. Therefore, it is the aim of this article to spread awareness about kidney cancer causes and prevention. So, without further ado, let us get started.
What Causes Kidney Cancer?
As far as we know, there are plenty of documented risk factors for kidney cancer, but we still do not know just how exactly they cause kidney cells to mutate in such a way as to become cancerous. There is some merit in calling kidney cancer genetic, as the mutations that turn cells cancerous are usually embedded in our DNA – in the genes that we inherit from our parents.
The most common form of kidney cancer is RCC; however, there are various types of kidney cancer. These are:
- Clear Cell RCC: Almost 80% of all RCC cases are clear cell RCC. These types of kidney tumors look mostly clear or pale when seen under a microscope.
- Chromophobe RCC: As the name suggests, these tumors do not have a clear color. These tumors are larger in size than clear cell RCC.
- Collecting duct RCC: This is a very rare form of RCC and is incredibly aggressive. They are characterized by the tubular structures they form inside the cancerous tumors.
- Unclassified RCC: As it says, these cells cannot be classified based on how they look under a microscope. They are very rare, though.
Now that we have spoken about kidney cancer causes, risk factors are up next.
Kidney Cancer Risk Factors
A risk factor is defined as anything – behavior or environmental – that increases your chance of getting a disease. Just because you are exposed to a risk factor does not automatically mean that it causes cancer. Cancer has happened to people who have displayed no outward risk factors at all.
Among the known risk factors for kidney cancer, there are a few that can be changed. You can stop smoking and remove yourself from an environment rich in radiation, for example. However, you can do nothing about your DNA composition, which we have discussed above.
Scientists have identified many risk factors. Know that these are not emphatically the causes of kidney cancer. But may lead to it, so you might as well be on the lookout for them:
Being a smoker increases your risk of developing renal cell carcinoma, or RCC. This is one of the things you can eliminate by simply not smoking. That way, you lower the risk not just for yourself but also for everyone around you, like friends and family.
Obesity is among the major kidney cancer causes. Being overweight causes your body to release different hormones, and these hormones can lead to RCC. However, this is also something that you can change by managing your weight and doing proper exercise.
High Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that people with high blood pressure have a higher risk of contracting kidney cancer.
If you work in places that may expose you to radiation or certain harmful chemicals, like trichloroethylene, for example, then you are at a higher risk of contracting kidney cancer.
Race and Gender
While the causes of kidney cancer in males are not wholly related to gender, men do, on average, have a higher chance of developing kidney cancer than women. In fact, men are twice as likely to get it as women.
On that note, African Americans develop kidney cancer more often than Caucasians. The cause of this remains unclear.
Certain medicine can raise the risk of a person developing kidney cancer. For example, studies have shown that acetaminophen, a common painkiller, increases the liability of a person getting kidney cancer.
Kidney cancer is very uncommon in people aged below 45. On average, it is most commonly diagnosed in people aged between 65 and 74, so you should take proper precautions. Lead a healthy life so as to reduce the risk of kidney cancer in advanced ages. Now that you know what you can do for kidney cancer prevention, you ought to get started right away. For more information, reach out to All American Hospice for a consultation on kidney cancer care.