Never Safe: Everyday Things That Increase Our Risk of Cancer.
(ThySistas.com) Cancer is a disease that no one wants to experience. It can happen to seemingly anyone, countless things cause it, and it can kill swiftly or slowly. When we really think about it, no one can avoid being at risk of cancer, and it doesn’t help that there are dozens of everyday things that we do which increase the danger of cancer.
First of all, let’s lighten the fearmongering. When someone says that something can “double” the chances of causing cancer, people often think about large numbers. But let’s say your chance of getting cancer is just 0.05% (it’s extremely difficult and bordering impossible to find out the exact chance, but it’s just an example) and you did something that “doubled” your risk, that would put you at a 0.1% chance of getting cancer—a number that’s still very low.
But regardless of how inherently low the chance is, it’s still a risk that we’d rather not take. There’s no guaranteed cure for cancer yet, but we should keep our hopes up that a cure for cancer will appear in the future. In the meantime, you can avoid increasing the risk by following this list of some of the most common things that we use, eat or do in our everyday lives that contribute to cancer.
We all know that consuming large amounts of alcohol is a bad thing. It affects our mood, we get addicted, and no one likes to be hung over. However, studies have shown that drinking a bit of red wine on a regular and moderate basis can actually help keep our hearts active and our bodies healthy.
Sadly, further research has shown that while it does improve some parts of our body, it ultimately increases the risk of cancer. In fact, a study conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health, they discovered that alcohol was actually responsible for over 20,000 cancer-related deaths in 2009 alone. In 2013, a paper was published that said a drink or two every day can increase the chance of cancer in the colon, rectum and breasts.
It seems like consuming alcohol on a regular basis can bring both negative and positive effects. If you’re worried about the risk of cancer then it’ll be a good idea to cut back on the party drinks this Christmas and switch to something like water or juice. However, if you’re more concerned about your heart then keep on sipping that red wine!
Who doesn’t love a nice bag of popcorn? Whether it’s at the movies with a group of friends or relaxing alone on the sofa with a movie, a portion of popcorn is a light and tasty snack that can be flavoured in dozens of different ways. Unfortunately, it can also cause cancer. While there hasn’t been any direct links or scientific papers to remove it, there are minor links between microwave popcorn and certain cancers.
The popcorn itself doesn’t contain any nasty artificial chemicals (or at least, there hasn’t been proof) but there is a non-stick coating inside of the popcorn bags that can decompose and create something called perfluorooctanoic acid. It’s quite difficult to pronounce, but all you need to know is that it’s associated with increased risk of cancers like liver and prostate.
Next time you’re looking for a low-calorie snack to munch on while watching a movie, consider buying large bags of plain popcorn and flavour it yourself instead of buying the compact microwave varieties—the full bags might take up more space, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you aren’t increasing your risk of cancer.
Cosmetics and Body Products
The cosmetics industry is closely linked with the chemical industry. Most products aren’t created naturally and they usually require a good mix of both natural and synthetic ingredients to create make shower gels, bath creams and perfumes.
Unfortunately, the laws that govern what ingredients can and can’t be put into these products is limited. Some chemicals that are known to cause cancer are actually legally allowed to be used in cosmetics such as formaldehyde. It’s not as common in the high-end or from trusted brands, but it’s always a good idea to read the labels and learn which chemicals you shouldn’t put anywhere near your body.
People share horror stories online about their experiences with cancer-causing cosmetic products. Sadly, some people are unfortunate and they develop cancer as a result of using products that were mislabeled, illegal or even standard products. For example, news by Brown and Crouppen reported that prolonged use of talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer.
Health officials have estimated that roughly 1 billion people in the world smoke on a regular basis and 5 million people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses—including cancer. Second-hand smoking also kills around 600,000 people every year, so even if you don’t smoke yourself, being around people that do smoke is just as dangerous.
There are around 7,000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke and about 250 of them are known to be harmful to our health. This includes cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. About 69 of those 250 harmful chemicals can directly cause cancer, such as arsenic, beryllium and nickel. Smoking harms almost every bodily organ and reduces our overall quality of health, but it’s still one of the leading causes of cancer across the world because it’s so addictive and popular.
And let’s not forget that even if you don’t care about the effects of smoking, you are affecting your surrounding peers and putting them at risk too. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, infection, makes it harder for women to get pregnant, and can also affect unborn babies.
If you’re a smoker that is worried about their health, or you know someone that wants to stop, then it’s never too late or too early to start a treatment program. It takes roughly six tries for someone to fully quit smoking, and it’s normal to relapse after the first couple of tries. Don’t be discouraged, support your friends and look for people in a similar situation.
Exposing yourself to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning machines can actually cause skin cancer. One of the most obvious effects of this radiation is when we get sunburned. Each time the sun burns you, it actually increases your risk of cancer by 2 to 3 times. Sunburnt doesn’t even mean that the skin is flaking or blistering. If your skin has turned into a pink or red colour, then that’s enough to scientifically qualify as sunburn. What’s worse is that skin cancer can actually spread deep into the body and affect other organs.
The most common way to avoid sunburn and ultraviolet radiation is to properly protect yourself. Wear a sunhat, sunglasses, and apply some sunscreen over your exposed skin whenever you head outside. This is incredibly important for the summer because we often visit beaches and parks where we’re fully exposed to the sun. Although it might be hot, make sure you wear a layer of clothing to block the ultraviolet rays from the sun or stay in the shade whenever possible.
Red and Processed Meat
If you’re a meat eater then chances are you love a nice chunky steak or a rack of ribs. Bacon is one of the world’s most popular red meats. We fry it, grill it, sprinkle it on top of everything, add it to our burgers and some people even create spreads with it. Red meat also includes lamb and goat which are very popular in some parts of the world. Roast lamb can be a delicious substitute to turkey dinners and goat is a staple meat in parts of Asia and Africa.
Processed meat is also a common food item across the entire world. This includes sausages, salami, chorizo, burgers and hot dogs. The difference is that processed meats usually have added chemicals or go through a curing process before they’re consumed. This means that it’s less “pure” than normal red meat and it can contain a higher fat content and far more salt because you’re not the one seasoning it. If you have a choice of making your own sausages and buying them from a store, always choose to make your own and cure your own meats so you know exactly what goes into them.
Some evidence has shown that there is likely a solid link between red and processed meats and the risk of bowel cancer. People who consume a lot of these meats have been found to have a higher risk of bowel cancer compared to people that didn’t.
To cut out red meats from your diet, consider swapping things like bacon for chicken or turkey. If you’re having burgers, then consider chicken mince or even switching to meat-free alternatives such as Quorn. Curries and pies can also be swapped to fish or chicken and other white meats.
Staff Writer; Ann Williams