Causes & Risk Factors

Researchers aren’t clear about what causes kidney cancer. Like all cancers, it could be caused by many things, including a family history. Despite not knowing the exact causes, researchers have found several factors that might affect a person’s risk of getting kidney cancer:

  • Age: A majority of people with kidney cancer are older than 50.
  • Family History: Having a blood relative who has been diagnosed with kidney cancer increases a person’s risk of developing the cancer themselves.
  • Being Male: Men are about twice as likely as women to get kidney cancer.
  • Obesity: People who are obese may have a higher risk of kidney cancer compared with people who are not.
  • Smoking: People who smoke may have an increased risk of kidney cancer.
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): High blood pressure increases the risk of kidney cancer.
  • Treatment for Kidney Failure: People who receive long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure have a greater risk of developing kidney cancer.
  • Genetics: Having certain genetic conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease or inherited papillary renal cell carcinoma increases the risk.
  • Chemical Exposure: Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as asbestos, cadmium, benzene, organic solvents, or certain herbicides can increase the risk of kidney cancer.
  • Lymphoma: For an unknown reason, there is an increased risk of kidney cancer in patients with lymphoma.
  • Race: For reasons not yet determined, Black people have a greater risk of kidney cancer than do people of other races.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any continual signs or symptoms of kidney cancer, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Also, make an appointment if you contain any of the risk factors associated with the cancer.

Our Cancer Services

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, BASS Cancer Center and the BASS Medical Group offers a wide range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies.   

Our state-of-the-art cancer center features a full-service medical oncology clinic, including infusion suite, multiple exam rooms, and a PET/CT scanner. We also provide the most technologically advanced radiation oncology treatment in California. Our cancer experts use an Elekta VersaHD CT-Guided linear accelerator with Visionrt’s AlignRT Surface Guided technology (SGRT) and an MR-Guided Linear Accelerator (ViewRay MRIdian).

The VersaHD and MRIdian augment each platform’s capabilities and give the patient and BASS physician an unprecedented ability to tailor a radiotherapy treatment course best fit for each person’s case. Our AlignRT SGRT platform utilizes innovative optical technology to accurately track a patient’s position before and during treatment without exposing them to any additional radiation (commonly needed by other radiotherapy platforms for maintaining setup). Additionally, SGRT allows some patients the choice to avoid permanent marks on their bodies.