Are Kidney Cancer and Kidney Disease Related?

Your kidneys have an extremely important job — to filter out extra water and waste from your blood. These bean-shaped organs are quite efficient at turning excess water and waste into urine. When your kidneys aren’t functioning optimally, waste can build up in the blood, and a host of health issues can arise. While there is no known cause of kidney cancer, and kidney disease may not be directly related, there are some risk factors to each that you should know about.

What is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys stop filtering blood and waste. There are several types of kidney disease — some are genetic, and others are due to pre-existing illnesses. The most common causes of kidney disease are:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Glomerulonephritis — damage of the glomeruli (the kidney’s filter unit)
  • Kidney stones
  • Overuse of certain drugs (pain killers, heroin)

Types of Kidney Cancer

  • Renal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer and occurs when cancer cells grow in the lining of the small channels of the kidney.
  • Transitional Cell Carcinoma is rare. However, it affects the cells in the urinary system. Transitional cells are found in the renal pelvis, bladder and upper part of the ureter.

Cancer Survivors and Their Risk in Developing Other Kidney Diseases

Developing kidney disease is a possibility for anyone — not only survivors of kidney cancer. Due to the kidneys’ compromised state, however, a kidney-cancer survivor could be more susceptible to other kidney diseases. Those on dialysis may also be at risk for kidney cancer. However, the risk is not necessarily due to the kidney disease but to the impact of dialysis on the kidneys.

Risk Factors and Prevention Methods

There are some factors that we have no control over, for instance, genetics. However, there are many more that we can control. Making changes to these controllable risk factors can help prevent the onset of kidney cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Exposure to asbestos, pesticides
  • Poor nutrition
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure

At Parrish Healthcare, we know that your health, or that of a loved one, is your top priority. Our doctors and care partners make it our priority, too. Contact us today to learn more about how our Cancer Care Program can help with kidney-cancer screening, treatment, and care.

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