Support Line: 0800 002 9002
General Enquiries: 01223 870008
  »  Wellbeing  »  Obesity and kidney cancer

Obesity and kidney cancer

by | Jan 23, 2015 | Wellbeing

Every year in the UK, over 10,000 people learn that they have kidney cancer. The incidence of kidney cancer has been steadily increasing in the UK, mainly attributed to lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking.
Kidney cancer is now the eighth most common cancer in the UK and accounts for 3% of all new diagnoses of cancer; it is the seventh most common type of cancer among men and tenth among women.
According to the study funded by National Institute for Health Research, Wellcome Trust, and Medical Research Council, an increase in body mass index (BMI)* is associated with increased risk of several types of cancer, including kidney cancer.  The study was based on research using information in UK GP records for more than 5 million people using data collected between 1987 and 2012, to see whether body mass index (BMI) was associated with 22 types of common cancers. The researchers estimated that 41% of uterine and 10% or more of gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon cancers could be attributable to excess weight.
Consequently, the figures published by Cancer Research UK in 2011 show that being overweight or obese causes around a quarter of kidney cancers (25% in men and 22% in women). Overall, in Britain each year, 4.4 per cent of cases of cancer in men are linked to obesity – a total of 7,217 cases each year. Among women, 8.2 per cent cases of cancer in the UK were linked to obesity, amounting to 13,000 cases a year.
Additionally, a new study by The Lancet Oncology, which gathered body mass index (BMI) data from 2002 for thousands of people in 184 countries, found that 3.6 percent of new cancer cases in 2012 (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) could be attributed to obesity. That translates to about half a million new diagnoses worldwide — and that’s in just a one-year period.
Balanced diet that is high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in red and processed meat and salt can help to maintain a healthy body weight. Eating well, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight can lower a risk of developing kidney cancer.
*Body mass index (BMI) is worked out by comparing your height and weight. For more information please click here.

  1. Kidney Cancer UK
  2. Risk and causes of kidney cancer by Cancer Research UK. Full article can be accessed here.
  3. BBC News, Kidney cancers: Major rise ‘linked to obesity. Full article can be found here.
  4. NHS, Is UK obesity fuelling an increase in 10 cancers?  Full article can be found here.
  5. The Telegraph, Britain almost the worst in the world for obesity-fuelled cancer. Full article can be found here.
<a href="" target="_self">Malcolm Packer</a>

Malcolm Packer

Malcolm is Chief Executive Officer at Kidney Cancer UK and Kidney Cancer Scotland and has worked with the charity in various capacities for over 15 years.