The name rings in every household nowadays and though the disease is widespread and common, people are not fully informed of all the things that are associated with the causes of cancer. The National Cancer Institute has laid down that at least 39.5% of men and women would get cancer at some point in their life.
Latest research shows that though the genetics play a role in the planting of the disease, environmental exposures and other socioeconomic factors are also responsible for triggering the disease.
Today cancer has evolved itself to pose as one of the leading causes of death. Despite the fatality of the disease, you could still get away with it before the devastating diagnosis if you know about the risks.
What are the reasons of cancer you did not know about?
Obvious and common reasons of cancer include hormonal imbalances, obesity and poor diet; however, some of the reasons are not as out-there such as these. Check out the most astonishing links that could cause cancer so that you form a better living habit.
1. Where You Live
This should not come as a surprise as places with poorer air quality, land, water, environment and socio-demographic factors are natural threats of cancer. A built environment such as constructed bridges, highways, building and roads were seen as major noncontributing factors for cancer.
A 2017 study published in the journal Cancer said that such environmental factors correlated most strongly to men and women with prostate and breast cancers. While such developed surroundings have the risk of the built environment, minority neighborhood includes the risk of getting cancer from air pollution.
2. Air fresheners and scented candles
Who could have thought that something as harmless as scented candles could be the death of you? Researchers have found out the different levels of the ‘volatile organic chemicals’ in six houses of England and York within a period of five days.
The researchers asked the residents to note down each scented candle and freshener they used and how often they used them. After the record, they tested the air of the houses. The houses
that used the most scented products regularly came out as positive for highest amounts of limonene in the air. (What is Limonene?) Limonene is a synthetic chemical that is used in these products to form citrus like smells and is considered as a major cause of being diagnosed with cancer.
How is limonene linked with cancer requires more research but discoveries have stated that when limonene is released into the air, the chemical reacts with ozone to form formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, as many of you might already know, has been linked to different forms of cancer including nasopharyngeal cancer and myeloid leukemia.
Apart from diagnosing you with this terrible disease, scented room fresheners are capable of creating asthma problems, hormonal chaos and other serious ailments. You can reduce the chances of being diagnosed by
- Reducing the number of scented products that further reduces limonene content in the air and therefore, less formaldehyde as well.
- Avoiding products that include phthalates, DEP, DEHP, perfum or DBP.
- Avoiding synthetic scents as much as possible.
3. Alcohol consumption
The time of cutting down on the happy hour indulgences has come as researchers have concluded that there is a positive connection between breast cancer risk and alcohol consumption.
It was studied that women who had increased the amount of alcohol consumption in the course of five years developed greater risks of breast cancer. Surprisingly, another study found out that women who increased their alcohol consumption got their heart
disease risks lowered.
If men are crookedly smiling on reading this, then there is bad news for them as well. Apart from increased chances of breast cancer, alcohol consumption also increased the rates of having oesophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer and liver cancer.
Alcohol comes off as such a great risk of cancer because our body processes the ethanol into acetaldehyde that could potentially damage DNA and proteins in the body. Increased levels of estrogen, triggered oxidation damaging DNA, proteins and fats, and impaired nutrient absorption are the different ways alcohol can affect the body.
Workers are exposed to the dust from the wood at all stages of wood processing, the wood dust causes irritation to the nose, eyes and the throat. Little did we know, this dust can cause serious health problems the major being nasal cancer which is also known as adenocarcinoma.
Our exposure towards the wood dust can be controlled through well designed respiratory protection. Make sure you wear a respiratory mask to protect you from these fine dust particles.
5. Food packaging
Many of you might already have heard about the hazards of food packages but have ignored due to the lack of evidence. Dietary imbalances are one of the leading causes of cancer, it is true, but the packages that come with takeout dinners, pizza and others, could also cause cancer.
Perfluorinated chemicals also known as PFCs and PFASs are often found in food wraps and packages that are grease- and stain-repellent linings. Quite often, these chemicals find their way into the food and cause fatal results. From being linked to cancer and reproductive problems to development issues, impaired immunity operation, etc., you name it.
Check out the following ways to be safe from the chances of getting cancer:
- Try eating fresh meals at home.
- Avoid eating out altogether, if not, then reduce it to as little as you can.
- Avoiding paper plates and other such tableware is advisable since they are also coated with the same grease-proofing chemicals.
- Avoid microwavable popcorn bags, too.
As there should be a balance of the exposure to sunlight, one must also be cautious about using the right sunscreen. There are risks of using these sunscreens as Benzophenone-3 (or oxybenzone) is one of the common ingredient in sunscreens, these chemicals produce free radicals which trigger DNA damage and can be a cause of cancer growth. There has been a limit of 3 to 6 percent by the FDA, they haven’t banned the chemical as the agency calls it the effectiveness to protect against the UV rays.
How to avoid:
The consumer should not be ignorant whie purchasing the sunscreens and should go through the labels. One should avoid purchasing the sunscreens that contain chemicals such as para amino benzoic acid octyl salicyclate, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, phenylbenzimidazole, homosalate, menthyl anthranilate, octocrylene, methoxycinnamate, parabens and, of course, oxybenzone. One should make an attempt to use the homemade products such as coconut oil, shea butter etc.
7. Not Enough Sunlight
This might be the time to seriously consider the severe consequence of staying indoors for an abnormally long time. The researchers at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have stated that approximately 350,000 cases of breast cancer and 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer could be inhibited by raising the levels of vitamin d3.
Researchers found out the linkage between cancer and vitamin D by taking the satellite measurements of the cloud cover and the sun. By analyzing the blood serum levels of vitamin D with the help of the acquired information, they concluded irreparable connection between the two causing higher risks of breast and colorectal cancer, implying that lower levels of the nutrient pose a greater
Sunbathing is a popular practice in the western countries, however, too much of sun exposure could cause other skin diseases. Keep in check of the following practices and you should be getting enough vitamin D:
- Give yourself the benefits of camping during the weekends,
- Include the swim workout regimes; make sure you are swimming under the sunlight,
- Other practices like biking, gardening outdoors, and going out for a run are good options as well.
8. Viruses and Bacteria
While there are short term risks of viruses and bacteria, the long term risks are diseases like cancer. Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) is one of the most common viruses found in the human body In fact, about 50% of children have been exposed at a very young age, and by adulthood, it is believed that at least 95% of the population has been affected. Once you are afflicted with EBV, it never leaves. It remains dormant throughout life.
EVB is most known for causing what we know as “the kissing disease” or mononucleosis or mono. It remains dormant in the human body until it is triggered by the pesticide or mold. The nutrition also plays an important role in bringing it back to life
9. Working In Night Shifts
As unlikely as it sounds, however, working in night shifts could significantly increase the chances of developing cancer. According to a research, 15 percent of the Americans work the night shift making them vulnerable to the disease. The body’s central circadian rhythm, responsible for maintaining the 24-hour cycle, also functions as a tumor suppressor. Hence, as it is affected by light and darkness, working in night shifts disturbs the pattern. Abnormal lighting experiences could create faster tumor growth as compared to normal lighting effects.
Hence, many of the above factors were more or less unknown to you, and even if you knew about them, you did not believe in the risks. It is undebatable that the more knowledge you have about cancer risks, the more actively you could fight off the environmental and socioeconomic factors.
10. Burnt food
This is extremely bad news for all the bad cooks out there, as chances are if you have burned your food, it needs getting discarded. Fried food and inflammation is a common concept, but this is a surprise for the newbies. In potatoes and toasts, there is acrylamide, a chemical created in starchy foods when they are cooked at higher temperatures.
When deep-frying potatoes at above 248 degrees Fahrenheit, the process seems to accelerate the formation of acrylamide, which is less likely to form in case the food is boiled or microwaved. The chemical is known to damage DNA in animals; nonetheless, you should still avoid microwaving food for obvious reasons.
Apart from burnt starchy foods, burnt meat also has a chance of causing cancer but you could positively lower grilling carcinogens by up to 99 percent by using simple cooking tips.
- Experts suggest about eating starchy food that is ‘golden’ and not burnt.
- Avoid broiling, baking and frying at higher temperatures for longer period.
- Soak cut, raw or sliced spuds for 30 minutes in water. This could reduce the creation of acrylamide by up to 30 percent.
- In the case of cooking meat, lower the HCA levels by using vinegar-based marinades in place of the sugary ones. Using garlic, turmeric and different herbs as a marinade base sound promising.
11. Sedentary Lifestyle
Physical inactivity has been linked with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, but it can also increase the risk of certain cancers. An analysis assessed the correlation between the time of viewing television, recreational sitting time, occupational time and the total sitting time as it relates to the risk of causing cancer.
When the highest levels of the sedentary behavior are compared to the lowest level, the researchers found that more sedentary participants faced a higher risk of lung cancer. The risk is increased with each increase of 2 hour sitting time, this implies that large amount of sitting time can be harmful even when you are otherwise active.
There should be at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of moderate activity per week which does not include activities such as climbing stairs or the regular household work. The recommendation for the children is 60 mins per day of moderate activity or vigorous activities at least 3 days a week.
To avoid the sedentary lifestyle one should try working on a standing desk or replace the conventional office chair for an exercise ball. You should set alarm throughout the day which
reminds you to stand up and stretch for a while. One should start walking while speaking on the phone and it would be great if one can start hosting walking meetings.
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