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Does obesity increase the risk of kidney cancer?

Studies have consistently found a link between a type of kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) and obesity in women, with some studies finding risk among obese women to be two to four times the risk of women of a healthy weight.

Results of studies including men have been more variable, ranging from an association similar to that seen in women, to a weak association, to no association at all. A meta-analysis (where several studies are combined into a single report), which found an equal association of risk among men and women, estimated the kidney cancer risk to be 36 percent higher for an overweight person and 84 percent higher for an obese person compared to those with a healthy weight.

The mechanisms by which obesity may increase renal cell cancer risk are not well understood. An increased exposure to sex steroids, estrogen and androgen, is one possible mechanism.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.