Taller and heavier children are more likely at risk of developing renal cell or kidney cancer as adults, a study from Denmark reveals.

Renal cell carcinoma that usually affects male adults between the age of 50 and 70 is the most common cancer in adults.

The researchers from Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark used the data of 301,422 children born in Copenhagen from 1930 to 1985. The children are now adults aged 30 to 89. Their measurements such as height, weight, and birth weight from 1942 onwards were reported by their parents.

The weights and heights of the children were measured at annual school health examinations at the ages of 7 to 13 years.

Cox Proportional Hazards Regression

Children were grouped as normal weight or overweight based height, weight, and body mass index suggested by the International Obesity Task Force. The cases linked to renal cell carcinoma were identified by the Danish Cancer Registry.

The researchers used a statistical technique called the Cox proportional hazards regression technique to analyze the data. They used the method in relating several factors or exposures to gauge the risk of an outcome, or in the particular study, the risks of developing renal cell cancer.

Out of the total number of children observed, 1,010 individuals were diagnosed with renal cancer, 680 of which were males.

They compared two sets of 13-year-old boys and girls with similar height but with different weight and BMI. The research revealed that the heaviest boy or girl had, in each case, a 14 percent increased risk of renal cancer compared to the leaner child. The taller boys and girls, on the other hand, were associated with a 12 percent risk of renal cancer later in life.

Compared to children with normal weight at age 7 and 13, children who were overweight at both ages did not have high risks of kidney cancer. However, children who were at normal weight at age 7 and overweight at age 13 had a 67 percent greater risk.

"We have found in other studies that childhood height is positively associated with several cancer forms. Therefore, we did expect to find that taller children have a higher risk of RCC than average-sized children," said Dr. Britt Wang Jensen, lead author of the study.

Renal Cell Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in tubules of the kidney.

Symptoms of renal cell cancer may include blood in the urine and a protruding lump in the abdomen. Among the risk factors of this cancer include smoking, misuse and prolonged use of certain over-the-counter pain medicines, being overweight, and high blood pressure.

Family history of renal cell cancer, as well as certain genetic conditions such as von Hippel-Lindau disease or hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, may also affect a person's risk for developing this disease. After renal cell cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out of the cancer cells have spread to the kidney or other parts of the body.

The results of the study were presented to the European Congress of Obesity in Glasglow, Scotland.

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