Healthy BMI, no smoking effective ways to reduce risk of kidney cancer: Experts

New Delhi: Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) and refraining from smoking are two of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of kidney cancer, experts said on World Kidney Cancer Day on Thursday.

World Kidney Cancer Day is observed every year on June 20 to raise awareness about this disease.

According to experts, several key risk factors have been identified in kidney cancer, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney cancer, and exposure to toxins found in some industrial settings.

“Being aware of these risk factors can empower individuals to make informed choices about their health and potentially reduce their risk of developing kidney cancer,” Dr. C.N. Patil, HOD and Lead Consultant – Medical Oncology & Haemato-Oncology, Aster International Institute of Oncology, told IANS.

As per data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), kidney cancer is one of the top 10 cancers in India and accounts for about 2 to 3 per cent of all cancer cases.

“Kidney cancer constitutes about 2 to 3 per cent of all cancers in our country, with around 15,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The incidence is notably higher in men than in women, with a male-to-female ratio of approximately 2:1,” said Dr. Raghunath S.K., Senior Consultant and Director of Uro-oncology and Robotic Surgery, HCG Cancer Centre, Bengaluru.

Early-stage kidney cancer often presents no symptoms. However, experts suggested to be vigilant for warning signs like blood in urine, persistent back or flank pain, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue.

The experts highlighted that lifestyle changes play a crucial role in kidney cancer prevention.

“Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated are essential practices for overall kidney health,” said Dr. P.N. Gupta, Director and HOD – Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Paras Health, Gurugram.

“Adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, coupled with regular physical activity, can significantly lower cancer risk. Additionally, avoiding tobacco in all forms is imperative, as smoking is a major risk factor for many types of cancer, including kidney cancer,” he added.

Experts also mentioned that the outlook for kidney cancer patients has improved considerably due to advancements in treatment.

The most common approach is surgery, which may involve removing the entire kidney or just the cancerous portion. Targeted therapies and immunotherapy have improved survival rates and quality of life for patients, they noted.

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