Kidney cancer is one of the ten most prevalent cancers for both men and women. Overall, men’s lifetime risk is approximately 1 in 46; for women it’s 1 in 80. It most frequently affects those aged 45+, typically diagnosed at age 64 on average. The American Cancer Society predicts around 81,800 new cases in 2023, leading to 14,890 fatalities.
Also according to the American Cancer Society, the risk factors for developing kidney cancer include:
- Age: The risk of kidney cancer increases with age, and it is more common in individuals over the age of 45.
- Gender: Kidney cancer is about twice as common in men compared to women.
- Race/Ethnicity: It is more prevalent in African Americans, American Indians, and Alaska Natives.
- Family History: A family history of kidney cancer may elevate the risk, indicating a potential genetic predisposition.
- Certain Genetic Conditions: Specific inherited conditions, such as von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, and Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, can increase the risk.
- Certain Inherited Syndromes: Individuals with hereditary non-VHL clear cell renal cell carcinoma, hereditary leiomyomatosis, and renal cell cancer (HLRCC), and succinate dehydrogenase kidney cancer are at higher risk.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking is a recognized risk factor for kidney cancer.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer.
- High Blood Pressure: Hypertension may contribute to an elevated risk of developing kidney cancer.
- Misusing Certain Pain Medications: Long-term use of certain pain medications, such as non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may increase the risk.
- Exposure to Certain Chemicals: Occupational exposure to certain chemicals like asbestos, cadmium, benzene, and certain herbicides may be linked to an increased risk.
- Advanced Kidney Disease: Individuals with advanced kidney disease requiring dialysis may face an elevated risk.
Regular check-ups and early detection play a crucial role in managing the risk of kidney cancer.
One of the Lucky Ones
In January 2013, Rob Prior, successful author and musician from Sydney, Australia, faced the sudden and quite unexpected health challenge when he was told he had Stage 3 kidney cancer diagnosis and that surgery was recommended within four days upon the discovery of a sizable tumor in his right kidney. Rob wasted no time in exploring his options. Instead of succumbing to the conventional narrative of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, Rob, armed with a scientific background and intuition, embarked on a journey of holistic healing.
In my video interview with Rob, he reflected on his profound belief that cancer is not a random affliction but rather a consequence of years of accumulated abuse to the body. Taking responsibility for his health became his first step towards recovery. Rob elected to make a radical shift in lifestyle, beginning with a reversal of the diet he was eating. One of the first things he did was to stop consuming processed foods—or as he describes them, edible substances that merely resemble actual nutrition. He chose instead to adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet.
The Power of Hope
Central to Rob’s story is the notion of hope and belief as powerful catalysts for healing. Chronicling his journey in his book “The Healing Power of Cancer,” Rob’s story serves not only as a documentation of his triumph over adversity but as a beacon for anyone navigating the frightening prospect of a cancer diagnosis.
Thirteen months after being diagnosed with cancer, he was completely healed. Now at age 66 — and more than a decade after his devastating diagnosis — Rob enjoys having more energy than ever before, and is a living testament to the transformative power of the healthy dietary and lifestyle changes he embraced.
Like Rob, I know that fighting and surviving cancer is more than a physical battle against rogue cancer cells. It’s also a journey that demands harnessing the power of your mind and spirit. Rob’s journey, much like my own, led me to explore unconventional paths, hang on tight to hope, and fight like my life depended on it. Because it did.
If you’re fighting cancer, or if you know someone who is, sit back and be inspired by this video interview with late-stage kidney cancer survivor, Rob Prior:
Geynisman DM, Maranchie JK, Ball MW, Bratslavsky G, Singer EA. A 25 year perspective on the evolution and advances in an understanding of the biology, evaluation and treatment of kidney cancer. Urol Oncol. 2021 Sep;39(9):548-560. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2021.04.038. Epub 2021 Jun 4. PMID: 34092483; PMCID: PMC9030590.