Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) incidence has doubled over the past few decades. However, death rates have remained stable as the number of incidental renal mass diagnoses peaked. RCC has been recognized as a European health care issue, but to date, no screening programmes have been introduced. Well-known modifiable risk factors for RCC are smoking, obesity and hypertension. A direct association between cigarette consumption and increased RCC incidence and RCC-related death has been reported, but the underlying mechanistic pathways for this association are still unclear. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of RCC, but interestingly, improved survival outcomes have been reported in obese patients, a phenomenon known as the obesity paradox. Data on the association between other modifiable risk factors such as diet, dyslipidaemia and physical activity with RCC incidence are conflicting, and potential mechanisms underlying these associations remain to be elucidated.
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