7 Known Risk Factors of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Updated on April 27, 2020

What is Carcinoma?

Carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in epithelial cells, which apparently are on the surface of the body. Like other cancer cells, carcinomas divide uncontrollably and can spread to the other parts of the body. 

Here are some common types of carcinoma:

  • Renal cell carcinoma.
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

This post will focus on renal cell carcinoma. Let’s begin 

Renal Cell Carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma, also known as renal cell adenocarcinoma is the common type of Carcinoma (mostly found in the kidney). Around 90% of all carcinoma kidney cancers are related to RCC.

RCC generally grows as a single tumor cell within a kidney, but it is also possible that there may be multiple tumors present in one or both kidneys. 

Different kinds of RCC are usually determined by the way it appears under a microscope. Elisa kit can help you determine the exact type of RCC. 

Types of Renal Cell Carcinoma

Different types of renal cell carcinoma can develop in the same organ at the same time, so it’s better to characterize it by subtype. 

Clear Cell RCC

Clear cell RCC is responsible for around 70 percent of all RCC. It got its name due to the clear or pale appearance of the cell. According to the American Cancer Society, RCC responds well to various treatments that target certain proteins or genes such as immunotherapy. 

Papillary RCC

Papillary RCC is the second most common form of RCC. It has projections like cell structure that look like fingers. It is mainly divided into 2 subtypes.

Chromophobe RCC

It is a rare cancer cell and only 5 percent of people have chromophobe subtype. Its cell structure is bigger than the clear cell RCC and is a less aggressive form of the disease.

Unclassified RCC

There are some unclassified RCC that doesn’t fit under the aforementioned categories.

Seven Major Risk Factors

While the exact cause of renal cell carcinoma is still unknown, there are some known factors that may increase the risk: 

Age and Gender

Older people have more chances of having RCC and males have almost 50 % more chances of developing RCC as compared to females.

Not Including high-fiber in your diet

A high-fiber rich diet is inversely associated with renal cell cancer risk. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber with antioxidant nutrients properties, carotenoids, and vitamins A, C, and E. 

Soluble and insoluble are the two types of fiber and both can help lower your cancer risk.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and slowing the digestion process by turning to gel. The best source of high soluble fiber are:

  • Avocado
  • Peas
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Nuts and seeds

On the other hand, insoluble fiber allows food to pass easily through the stomach. The best source of high insoluble fiber are:

  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains
  • Apples

Family History

Genes and family history play an important role in developing RCC. Various inherited conditions such as familial (or hereditary) papillary RCC and Von Hippel-Lindau disease may put you at higher risk for having RCC.

Even if you don’t possess any of these inherited conditions, there are still chances of developing RCC if someone in your family had this condition. 

Consuming High Amount of Alcohol

Various studies have shown that the limited consumption of alcohol reduces the risk of having RCC in both males and females. But on the other hand, consuming a high level of alcohol increases the chances of developing cancer.

Smoking Habit

According to the Mayo Clinic, people who usually smoke have more chances of developing kidney cancer than those who don’t smoke. 

Your lungs absorb various chemicals and pass them into the bloodstream. Many of these cancer-causing chemicals accumulate in the kidneys. 

You can reduce the chances of developing RCC up to a great extent if you quit smoking.

Excess Body Weight

Obesity can lead to abnormal hormonal changes that ultimately put overweight people at a greater risk of developing RCC than others with a healthy weight. Along with RCC, obesity and overweight are associated with 13 types of cancer. 

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is a common risk factor for kidney cancer. Most people take over the counter medicines for high blood pressure but some particular blood pressure medications are also linked with chances of having RCC.


If you have such risk factors, it may increase the possibility of developing RCC. Make some lifestyle changes and regularly consult with your doctor to help you decrease that risk.

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