The Link Between Obesity and Kidney Cancer

Obesity is a serious health condition that can increase your risk for a variety of long-term health complications, including cancer. When it comes to kidney cancer, you’re twice as likely to develop renal cell cancer (a type of kidney cancer) if you’re obese than if you’re a healthy weight.

At Urology Specialist Group, the dedicated physicians are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating kidney cancer using the latest technologies and treatments.

The team also strongly believes in the preventive care necessary to reduce your risk for kidney and other types of cancer, and can provide you with resources to achieve a healthy body weight.

Understanding obesity

Obesity is a complex health condition that describes an unhealthy and excessive amount of body fat. Not only does the excess fat influence your outward appearance, it can also compromise your current and long-term health.

The determination for obesity is made based on your body mass index (BMI), the measurement of your body fat. Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in pounds by your height in inches. This number is then multiplied by 701.

A healthy BMI typically ranges between 18.5 and 24.9. If the resulting number is below 18.5, you’re considered underweight. If it’s 30 or higher, your considered to be clinically obese.

The causes of obesity

There are a lot of factors that can influence your body weight and contribute to obesity. Many people gain weight or have difficulty losing weight because of their:


As you get older, it can become more difficult to lose weight. This is often because your metabolism slows down and age-related changes in your body can cause pain that makes it difficult to exercise.


Your family background and genetics play a role in how much fat you can store and how that fat is distributed throughout your body.

Lifestyle and diet

Your lifestyle also plays a vital role in your weight and the likelihood you’ll be obese. Some of the most common lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity include a poor diet and a lack of regular exercise.

Underlying health issues

If you have chronic health conditions like arthritis that limit what you can do and cause persistent pain, you may be less likely to get the exercise you need to maintain a healthy BMI.


If you take certain medications, especially those to treat chronic health conditions, you may be more likely to experience weight gain that can lead to obesity.

Societal issues

Obesity is linked to those who don’t have access to healthy eating options or safe areas to exercise due to social or economic factors.

How BMI relates to kidney cancer risks

Your risk for kidney cancer can double due to obesity. This is because carrying too much body fat increases your levels of insulin and the insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1). These hormones are known to help some types of cancers develop.

Being obese can also cause chronic inflammation in your body and increase your risk for kidney and other types of cancer. Additionally, your fat cells may interfere with the processes that regulate the growth of cancer cells in your kidney.

Because your weight can influence your risk for developing kidney cancer, it’s important that you start following a routine that helps you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Lowering your risk for kidney cancer

Getting your weight under control is beneficial not only for lowering your cancer risk, but for also protecting your long-term health.

You should start making changes to your diet, learning to read food labels, and paying attention to the calorie amounts you consume each day. You also need to get at least 30-60 minutes of exercise each day to help you shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy BMI.

The team at Urology Specialist Group recommend routine kidney cancer screenings if you’re obese and have other risk factors for cancer, such as:

By identifying cancer in its earliest stages, your Urology Specialist Group provider can more effectively treat it.

To discuss more options for lowering your kidney cancer risk, call the Urology Specialist Group nearest you or request a consultation through the online booking feature today. 

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