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Kidney Cancer - Causes and Risk Factors

Kidney cancer commonly affects the elderly, with nearly 2 out of 3 people aged over 65 years old when diagnosed. Kidney cancer is rare in people under the age of 50. 

In most cases, there is no identifiable cause for the disease, although there are some associated risk factors:

  • Smoking - smokers have approximately double the risk of non-smokers. 
  • Obesity 
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) 
  • End-stage kidney diseases that require dialysis 
  • Chronic intake of mild painkillers, such as paracetamol, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. 
  • Family history of kidney cancer. Those who have a family history of kidney cancer have a higher risk. A hereditary form of the disease occurs in a small group of patients due to the presence of faulty genes. Inherited conditions that predispose one to kidney cancer include von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, and hereditary non-VHL clear cell and papillary renal cell cancer. 
  • Contact with certain chemicals – exposure or contact with chemicals such as aniline dye and heavy metals.
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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