Environmental Public Health Tracking: Kidney and Renal Cancer Data

Cancer is a term used for diseases where abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer is not just one disease, but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer.

Kidney and renal cancer is one type of cancer. Review the FAQs below for more information about kidney and renal cancer.

Access the kidney and renal cancer data

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What are kidney and renal cancers?

Kidney cancer is a cancer that forms in tissues of the kidneys. Some types of kidney cancer include:

  • Renal cell carcinoma. Cancer that forms in the lining of very small tubes in the kidney that remove waste from blood.
  • Renal pelvis carcinoma. Cancer that forms in the center of the kidney where urine collects.
  • Wilms tumor. A type of kidney cancer that usually develops in children under the age of 5.

Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women.

What are the risk factors for kidney and renal cancers?

People with the following risk factors may be more likely than others to develop kidney cancer:

  • Tobacco use
  • Exposure to certain hazardous substances (arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, some herbicides, benzene, and trichloroethylene)
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of kidney cancer

How are kidney and renal cancers related to the environment?

Research is needed to better understand the connection between the environment and kidney cancer. The kidney’s main function of removing waste from our blood puts it at higher risk to the effects of harmful substances in our body. This includes environmental contaminants we come into contact with during our lifetime. For example, studies have shown that some people exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE) or arsenic through contaminated drinking water may be at an increased risk for kidney cancer.

Are kidney and renal cancers preventable?

The following factors may decrease the risk of kidney and renal cancers:

  • Avoiding smoking
  • Maintaining an active lifestyle
  • Choosing a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Avoiding workplace exposure to large amounts of cadmium, asbestos, and organic solvents

Where can I learn more about kidney and renal cancers?

Last Revised: August 1, 2022