How to Prevent Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer is a serious medical condition that can have a dramatic effect on your health and quality of life. If you are concerned about developing kidney cancer because of past kidney problems or a family history of the disease, then make an appointment with your doctor to talk about testing and other preventative measures. Your doctor may advise you to make certain changes to your diet and lifestyle that may increase your chances of preventing kidney cancer.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Get an annual checkup.An annual checkup is important to detect health problems, including ones that may be serious like kidney cancer. Establish yourself with a primary care physician and make sure that you get a checkup at least once per year.
- You should also see your physician if you notice any problems that require attention. For example, if you are concerned about the health of your kidneys, then make an appointment with your physician to see what is going on.
Quit smoking.Smoking increases your risk for all sorts of health problems including kidney cancer.If you smoke, then now might be a good time to quit. Talk to your doctor about programs and medications that can help you to quit smoking.
Lose weight.Being overweight is also a risk factor for kidney cancer.If you are overweight or obese, then make losing weight a priority. Talk to your doctor for help and advice.
- To lose weight, you will need to reduce your caloric intake and get more physical activity. You will need to create a deficit, so that you are burning more calories than you are taking in.
Steer clear of toxic chemicals.Exposure to certain chemicals may also increase your risk of kidney cancer. These chemicals include cadmium, certain herbicides, and organic solvents such as trichloroethylene.
- If you work at a job where you are often exposed to hazardous fumes or other types of chemicals, then make sure that you are taking every precaution to protect yourself. Wear a face mask, wear gloves, or even wear a body suit to prevent chemicals from coming into contact with your skin.
Moderate your alcohol intake.Drinking too much alcohol can worsen or cause kidney disease, which may increase your risk of kidney cancer. Make sure that you are limiting the number of alcoholic beverages that you consume on a daily basis.
- In general, men should have no more than two alcoholic beverages in one day while women should have no more than one alcoholic beverage in one day.
- If you feel like you cannot control your drinking or it is hard to have just one or two drinks once you get started, talk to your doctor. You may need to get help to control your drinking.
Get more exercise.Regular exercise is another great way to improve your overall health. Not getting enough physical activity has been linked to a higher risk of certain types of cancer including breast, colon, lung, uterus, and prostate cancer.While an increased risk of kidney cancer has not been linked with lack of exercise, it is a possibility.
- To reduce your risk of multiple different types of cancers, make sure that you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five days out of the week. This can be as simple as taking a walk, riding a bike, or dancing around in your living room.
- You can even break up those 30 minutes — go for three 10 minute walks during the day if you're short on time.
Keep your blood pressure under control.High blood pressure is also a risk factor in developing kidney cancer.If you have high blood pressure, make sure that you work with your doctor to get it under control.
- To control your blood pressure, you may need to change your diet, get more exercise, practice stress reduction techniques, and possibly even take medication.
Making Dietary Changes
Drink more water.It is important to stay hydrated to keep your kidneys healthy. Not drinking enough water can lead to kidney stones. Make sure that you are drinking between six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to maintain your kidney health.
- You may need to drink more or less water depending on your kidney health, sex, and activity level. For example, some men may need to drink 13 cups of water every day to stay hydrated.
- Check with your doctor if you have experienced kidney failure. You may need to be on a restricted fluid diet.
Reduce your sodium intake.High sodium intake is bad for your kidneys as well. If you consume a lot of sodium, then work on reducing your intake. You can reduce your sodium intake by choosing low-sodium foods, avoiding processed foods, and keeping a diary of the amount of sodium that you consume on a daily basis.
- Consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day if you are under the age of 51 and no more than 1,500 mg per day if you are over 51.
Eat high-quality protein.Getting adequate high-quality protein is an important way to maintain your health. Avoid high-protein diets and eat a moderate amount of protein instead. While high-protein diets are popular for weight loss, eating this way can make existing kidney problems worse.Try to get about 20 to 30% of your overall daily calories from high-quality protein sources. Some high-quality protein sources include:
- Fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, and cod
- Skinless poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Grass fed beef and bison
Choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones.Make sure that you include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet as well.These complex carbohydrates are much healthier for you than simple ones like white bread, white pasta, candy, and sugar. Some good choices include:
- Apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, berries, cherries, pineapple, mangoes, papaya
- Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, onions, garlic
- Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, barley, brown rice, quinoa
Talk to your physician and a naturopath before incorporating herbs.Using herbs to season your food is a great idea, but it is important to consult your physician and a naturopath first if you are interested in taking any herbs as medicine. Some herbs can have negative effects on the kidneys, especially if your kidney function is already poor.
- Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you can prevent kidney cancer by making diet and lifestyle changes. However, making these changes should produce some positive benefits for your overall health.
Video: The Most Common Symptoms of Kidney Cancer
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