A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. It is possible to develop kidney cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. Most people with these risk factors never develop kidney cancer. However, in general, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing a disease. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for kidney cancer include the following:

Substances in cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products have been shown to cause kidney cancer. The body absorbs the cancer-causing chemicals into the bloodstream. When the kidneys filter the blood, they are exposed to high concentrations of these chemicals, which can lead to cancer.

Being overweight can increase the risk of kidney cancer. Obesity may alter hormone levels associated with kidney cancer.

A tendency to develop certain types of renal cell cancer may be inherited. These include kidney cancer associated with Von Hippel-Lindau disease, a hereditary disorder in which people are prone to renal cell carcinoma and a number of other types of tumors.

Males are more likely than females to develop renal cancer.

Meat that is cooked to well done may possibly increase the risk of kidney cancer. The reason for this is unknown.

Kidney cancer occurs more frequently after age 50.

Exposure to asbestos, organic solvents, and the metal cadmium may increase your risk of kidney cancer.

There are medical conditions that may increase your risk. One example is high blood pressure.