risk factors

Last reviewed 03/2023

risk factors

A person's risk of developing kidney cancer depends on many factors.

  • smoking
    • a strong dose-dependent increase in risk is seen associated with numbers of cigarettes smoked per day

  • higher body mass index

  • hypertension

  • other risk factors include:
    • occcupatinonal exposure - to asbestos, trichloroethylene, or thiazide, and use of acetaminophen or other analgesic drugs
    • polycystic kidney disease
    • chronic hepatitis C infection

  • genetics
    • 2% - 3% of RCC are hereditary and several autosomal dominant syndromes have been described e.g. - von Hippel-Lindau (VHL), hereditary papillary renal carcinoma (HPRC) (1,2)
    • RCC risk is 2.2-2.6 times higher in people with a first-degree relative with kidney cancer
    • RCC risk does not differ significantly between people whose sibling is affected and people whose parent is affected
    • RCCrisk is higher in people whose parent has/had lung or prostate cancer, and those whose sibling has/had bladder or thyroid cancer, melanoma, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma,

An estimated 42% of kidney cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including smoking (24%) and overweight and obesity (24%) (2).