According to the National Cancer Institute, kidney cancer is still one of the top ten most common types of cancer in the United States. In the 90s, scientists observed increasing rates of kidney cancer worldwide. It subsided in the year 2010. However, there has been a recent surge in cases globally. Along with this trend comes the importance of information and knowledge of the established and emerging risks for kidney cancer. This article will compare two studies from 2010 and 2018 to differentiate the recent findings on the suspected risks of renal cancer. At the end of the article, we will also provide tips to prevent the development of kidney cancer in your body.
Kidney and Kidney Cancer: What We Know
The kidneys are our body’s filtration system. They are commonly described as the bean-shaped organs on our lower abdomen. Its role is the filtration of our blood by removing waste called urea. They are also responsible for controlling and adjusting our body’s fluid balance through changes in electrolyte, water, and mineral levels.
The main cause of cancer in the kidney is still not known among doctors. However, they have all the means to screen and monitor kidney cancer. When doctors suspect that kidney cells are growing uncontrollably and are forming tumors, they can suggest CT Scan, MRI, or Renal Ultrasound to detect the formation of cancer early on. This is to prevent cancer cells from moving to other body organs in a process called metastasis.
Before metastasis, early symptoms of kidney cancer include:
- Blood in urine
- Lumps on the lower abdomen
- Appetite loss
- Sudden unexplainable weight loss
- Body pains and fatigue
- Joint swelling
- Intermittent fever
Before the cancer develops, it is important to know why the development of tumors in the kidney even happens. Since the main cause of kidney cancer is still not extensively known, doctors can mostly rely on causal and correlational relationships between risks. Because of this, most studies can only provide established and suspected risks based on research of population data.
Established Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer
During the stagnation of the kidney cancer cases trend in 2010, a narrative review on the epidemiology and risk factors for kidney cancer presented that these are the established risk factors:
- Cigarette Smoking: Frequent smoking increases the risk of developing kidney cancer. Meanwhile, when ceased, patients observed a reduction in the risk.
- Excess Body Weight: While the direct effect of frequent changes in weight remains unclear, researchers have considered that obesity accounts for 40% of kidney cancer in the United States.
- Hypertension: Researchers have reported that patients with a history of hypertension are more likely to develop kidney cancer. Rising blood pressure is indicative of an increased risk of kidney cancer, while control of hypertension through medications may reduce the risk.
In a newer narrative review in 2018, some suspected risk factors from the 2010 review became established, while newer studies reinforced some of these suspected risks. Here are the updates to the established risk factors for kidney cancer:
- Trichloroethylene Exposure: In 2014, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared trichloroethylene a carcinogen that promotes kidney cancer. There is a 30% to 40% increased risk of kidney cancer due to exposure to trichloroethylene at workstations handling these chemicals.
- Diabetes Mellitus: Researchers believe that this condition has an independent biologic effect on kidney cancer. A 2011 study states patients with this condition have an increased risk of up to 40% of developing kidney cancer.
- Alcohol Consumption: Newer studies reinforce the suspected link between alcohol consumption and kidney cancer. Researchers believe that moderate consumption of alcohol can reduce the risk of kidney cancer. They suggest that alcohol’s effect on increasing insulin sensitivity relates with kidney cancer risk reduction.
Suspected Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer
Even with recent advancements in research and technology, there are still risk factors that lack sufficient evidence for their solid establishment. Here are the suspected risk factors from the 2010 review until the 2018 review:
- Physical Activity: Independent from hypertension and excess body weight, the effects of frequent activity and sedentary activity are still unclear. The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research declared that there is little to no evidence between physical activity and kidney cancer.
- Parity in Women: Reproductive factors such as parity, and women’s age when they undergo menarche or menopause remain inconclusive throughout the duration of 2010-2018.
- Diet: The multifacetedness of diet and its complexity keeps this risk factor to remain inconclusive. Some fruit-based and vegetable-based diets reduce the risk. However, the content of these fruits and vegetables, such as antioxidants, have mixed risk assessments when linked to kidney cancer.
- Aristolochic Acid: This is a new suspected risk that arose from the 2018 review. In a 2016 research, aristolochic acid-exposed patients in Romania exhibit implications of kidney cancer.
General Tips in Kidney Cancer Prevention
The recent upward trend in kidney cancer cases around the world is alarming. It is only right for us to keep updated and informed of what to do to prevent this trend. Based on the risk factors above, this is the summary of prevention tips for kidney cancer:
- Avoid smoking cigarettes, including second-hand smoke.
- Maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Monitor your blood pressure.
- Regularly screen for comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension if your family has a history of such diseases.
- Regularly take your medicine for hypertension in case you have such a condition.
- Read the contents of cleaning products and avoid exposure to trichloroethylene products; these include:
- Cleaning Wipes
- Aerosol Cleaning Products
- Tool Cleaners
- Paint Removers
- Spray Adhesives
- Carpet Cleaners
- Spot Removers
- If you observe early symptoms of kidney cancer, immediately schedule a CT Scan, MRI, or Renal Ultrasound.
If you or your loved ones are currently battling kidney cancer, our facilities can provide you with the appropriate alternative treatment. Our treatments are completely specialized and personalized for each patient. Protect yourself or your loved ones with us at New Hope. Contact us today.