- There are some things you do often that may actually increase your chances of getting certain cancers.
- Sitting by a window on a plane or keeping your windows down while driving in traffic can cause cancer in humans.
- Using certain beauty products and eating certain foods, like pepperoni, can increase your risk of cancer.
- It’s important to have regular screenings to help catch cancerous cells before they spread.
Taking care of your health means avoiding behaviours that could lead you to develop dangerous medical conditions such as cancer. Unfortunately, not all cancer-causing habits are obvious. Here are a few little things you’re doing that might actually be raising your cancer risk.
You choose the window seat on planes.
Strange but true – you can get a sunburn on a plane. It’s known that intense or long-term exposure to UVA rays can contribute to the development of skin cancer. Though the glass used in aeroplane windows does block most UVB rays, research has found that up to 47% of UVA rays may still be passing through.
Protect yourself whenever you’re sitting in the sunlight by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen on your hands, face, neck, and on any other exposed areas of skin.
You always ask for a receipt.
A 2010 study found that touching shopping receipts could expose you to potentially cancer-causing levels of a harmful chemical. Researchers found that the thermal paper used by 95% of stores to create receipts contains significant amounts of BPA, which is a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to cancer.
To limit your exposure, ask for a digital copy of receipts that you need or try to limit your skin’s contact with paper receipts.
You drink lots of hot beverages.
It might sound odd, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found evidence that consuming very hot liquids could contribute to the development of esophageal cancer. Researchers believe that the tissue damage that may be caused by sipping scalding beverages may lead to cell injury over time, which could result in cancer.
So how hot is too hot? The science says that drinking beverages over 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celcius) are probably carcinogenic.
You always opt for extra pepperoni on your pizza.
According to the WHO, there is a link between eating processed or red meat and developing certain kinds of cancers.
A 2015 report found strong evidence for a relationship between processed or red meat like bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and ground beef and colorectal cancer. There is also evidence that these types of meat might contribute to the growth of pancreatic and prostate cancer.
The WHO now ranks processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogenic, which is the same category as cigarettes and arsenic. This category includes substances that have been studied intensively enough for there to be strong evidence that they cause cancer in humans.
You roll your windows down while sitting in heavy traffic.
The WHO has uncovered that exposure to the fumes produced by burning diesel fuel can cause cancer in humans. After reviewing multiple studies, researchers found that diesel engine exhaust can cause lung cancer and potentially bladder cancer by triggering changes in DNA.
People most at risk of heavy exposure to diesel fumes include toll booth workers, truck drivers, miners, and construction workers, but keeping your car windows rolled up in areas of heavy standing traffic will help to limit your exposure.
You take your outfits to the dry cleaner.
If you have a closet full of “dry-clean only” clothes, you might be increasing your cancer risk. Research undertaken by WHO has detected a link between the chemicals used in dry cleaning and the occurrence of some types of cancers, such as bladder, liver, and cervical cancer.
Dry cleaning workers may also be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive problems.
You don’t use a condom during sex.
Besides the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection, not using a barrier method such as a condom could leave you vulnerable to certain types of cancer. HPV is a cancer-causing virus that is transmitted during unprotected sex and can result in a range of conditions including cancer of the cervix, anus, penis, throat, vulva, and vagina.
You use toiletries that contain mineral oils.
Mineral oils are often used in products such as moisturizers, lipsticks, lubricants, and even laxatives. This common toiletry ingredient is actually a byproduct of the process of refining crude oil into gasoline and other petroleum products.
Scientific findings suggest that there may be a relationship between the application of mineral oil to the skin and an increased risk of cancer. Inhaling mineral oil fumes has also been linked to lung cancer, though the evidence for this relationship is more limited.
You usually have a few drinks after work to unwind.
The relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer risk has been an area of intensive study by scientists. Though the exact connection isn’t clear, research has found that there is a reliable link between drinking alcohol and having a greater chance of developing mouth, throat, liver, and breast cancer. One study also found that the more alcohol someone regularly consumed, the higher their risk of breast cancer.
In fact, according to the CDC, there is no safe known level of alcohol consumption when it comes to conditions such as breast and liver cancer.
If you do choose to drink, current guidelines recommend that men consume no more than two standard drinks per day and women keep their consumption to a maximum of one drink per day.
You vape or have the occasional cigarette.
Though having the occasional cigarette isn’t as harmful as smoking a pack a day, there is no safe level of smoking. The American Cancer Society advised that tobacco smoke contains at least 70 substances that are known to cause cancer, including arsenic, lead, and hydrogen cyanide. There are also radioactive materials in tobacco leaves that are taken into the lungs during smoking.
And just because you’re not smoking paper cigarettes doesn’t mean you’re not raising your cancer risk – research has revealed that the aerosols used in vapes contain toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.
You’re on your phone late at night.
Using your phone or TV screen past bedtime might be raising your risk of developing cancer, according to recent research. Scientists have found a possible link between low levels of melatonin – a hormone responsible for triggering sleepiness – and higher rates of some cancers. Though research is still ongoing, the artificial light emitted by electronic devices is known to interfere with the production of melatonin and thus disrupt sleep cycles.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, chronic sleeplessness may encourage cancer to develop.
You’re skipping your doctor appointments.
Though it’s true that not going to your medical appointments won’t actually give you cancer, the American Cancer Society does recommend regular screenings to help catch cancerous cells before they spread.
Not only that, but some types of tests can actually stop cancer from occurring. Colon and cervical screenings are meant to detect changes in cells that might precede cancer, so keeping on schedule with these tests is especially important.
You don’t eat enough veggies.
Vegetables are packed with fibre and nutrients that can help keep your body healthy and may even stave off cancer. Research has found that eating plenty of plants decreases the risk of mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectal cancer. One study also found that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower might provide protection against lung and colorectal cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least two and a half cups of fruits and vegetables per day.
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