Kidney cancer: 7 lifestyle mistakes that are damaging your kidneys and putting you at risk of cancer | Health

Kidney cancer can begin to develop silently in the cells of your crucial organ without showing any noticeable symptoms. The risk of suffering from this cancer increases with age and lifestyle factors play a prominent role in its development. Nearly 4,600 people were diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2023 and the average age at diagnosis is 65 years. (Read also | New method to detect novel biomarkers of kidney diseases with nephrotic syndrome: Study)

Kidney health can be compromised by several factors, including lifestyle choices and medical conditions.  (Freepik)
Kidney health can be compromised by several factors, including lifestyle choices and medical conditions. (Freepik)

Smokers have twice the risk of developing kidney cancer compared to non-smokers. Even if you don’t smoke or drink and have problematic lifestyle habits, such as eating unhealthy and being inactive, you are at higher risk for kidney cancer as you age. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which accounts for approximately 90% of all cases.

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“The kidneys are organs that work to filter waste products and excess fluid from the blood, maintain electrolyte balance, and regulate blood pressure. However, kidney health can be compromised by several factors, including lifestyle and medical conditions. One such concern is kidney cancer, a condition characterized by abnormal cell growth in the kidneys. While kidney cancer may not always present obvious symptoms in its early stages, can progress rapidly if left untreated, posing serious health risks to promote kidney health and reduce the risk of kidney cancer and other related complications,” says Dr Raghunath SK, Senior Consultant and Director of Uro-Oncology and Surgery. robotics, HCG Cancer Centre, KR Road, Bengaluru.

“Kidney cancer is often linked to factors such as smoking, obesity and genetic predisposition. Symptoms include blood in the urine, back pain, weight loss and fatigue. Diagnosis involves imaging tests. Treatment options treatment include surgery, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and participation in clinical trials, tailored to the stage of the cancer and the patient’s health,” adds Dr. Raghunath.

Early detection is vital for a better prognosis. There are preventive measures that must be followed to reduce the risk of kidney cancer.

Lifestyle mistakes to avoid kidney cancer

Here are the lifestyle mistakes you should avoid to protect your kidneys from cancer, as suggested by Dr. Raghunath SK:

1. Not eating a balanced diet: Prioritize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting processed meats, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. These nutrient-dense foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support optimal kidney function and reduce the risk of kidney cancer.

2. Excess weight: Try to maintain a healthy body weight through regular exercise and mindful eating habits. Excess weight can strain the kidneys and increase the risk of kidney disease and cancer. Focus on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portions to support weight management and overall health.

3. Do not drink water: Adequate hydration is essential for the proper functioning of the kidneys and the elimination of waste products and toxins from the body. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, aiming for at least 8 glasses or 2 liters, to maintain optimal kidney health. Check the color of your urine; Pale yellow urine indicates adequate hydration.

4. Smoking and alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are important risk factors for kidney cancer. Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol consumption can help protect the kidneys and reduce the risk of cancer. Seek support from health professionals or support groups if you need help quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption.

5. Not controlling blood pressure: High blood pressure can damage the kidneys over time, increasing the risk of kidney disease and cancer. Monitor your blood pressure regularly and take steps to keep it within a healthy range through lifestyle modifications, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and, if necessary, medication. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

6. High blood sugar levels: People with diabetes have a higher risk of kidney disease and cancer. Maintain strict control over blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, medications, and regular monitoring. Monitor your carbohydrate intake, engage in regular physical activity, and stick to your diabetes management plan to minimize the risk of kidney complications.

7. Taking too many pain relievers: Certain over-the-counter pain relievers, when used excessively, can damage the kidneys. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be used in moderation and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Consider alternative pain management strategies, such as physical therapy, heat therapy, or acupuncture. Always follow recommended dosing instructions and avoid prolonged use of NSAIDs without medical supervision.

By incorporating simple but effective strategies into daily routines, people can take proactive steps to protect their kidneys and maintain optimal health.