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What are the risk factors?

The cause of UTUC is not known in most cases. However, there are several risk factors:

  • smoking
  • a history of long-term inflammation of the ureter or kidney
  • exposure to certain chemicals over time, such as those used to make plastics, textiles, rubber, paint and dyes
  • exposure to arsenic
  • prior chemotherapy or radiation therapy for another cancer
  • long-term use of large quantities of painkillers
  • history of bladder cancer
  • having Lynch syndrome (an inherited syndrome) or Balkan nephropathy (caused by exposure to toxins in the diet of people living in the Balkan region).

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This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed February 2021 by the following expert content reviewers: the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate (ANZUP) Cancer Trials Group Consumer Advisory Panel; Gregory Bock, Urology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA; Dr Tom Ferguson, Medical Oncologist, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, WA; Prof Dickon Hayne, UWA Medical School, The University of Western Australia, and Head, Urology, South Metropolitan Health Service, WA; Steven Jones-Evans, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Carlo Yuen, Urologist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW.