The word cancer naturally brings fear and apprehension. Now, there are things we do everyday and things we are exposed to that can increase our risk of certain types of cancer and unfortunately, these things tend are somewhat hard to escape. They include;
1. Diesel fumes
Diesel engine fumes from automobiles and generators are classified as carcinogenic in humans according to the World Health Organization. It is comparable to second-hand cigarette smoke. It’s practically impossible to avoid breathing in diesel and petrol fumes especially when you are stuck in traffic.
It can be even more disadvantageous to your health if you work or live near these air pollutants. The more diesel fumes you breathe in, the higher your risk of developing respiratory problems such as asthma and lung cancer.
- Electronic devices
Mobile cell phones are the key electronic devices that may be a cause for concern. We hold our cell phones against our heads, and these electronic devices could contribute to cancerous tumours.
Cell phones basically emit radiofrequency energy, and the number of cell phone users has intensely increased over the years. National Cancer Institute reports that radiofrequency is a form of electromagnetic radiation which can be divided into two types: ionizing (X-rays, radon, and cosmic rays) and non-ionizing (radiofrequency, and power frequency).
Although cell phones are categorized under non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation and cannot damage DNA or cells directly, research has however suggested that it could increase the risk of cancer by reducing melatonin levels in the body. Melatonin has been shown to suppress the development of certain cancerous tumours.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) lists out the following tumours:
- Cancerous brain tumours such as gliomas
- Non-cancerous brain tumours such as meningiomas
- Non-cancerous tumours of the nerve endings that connect the brain to the ear
- Non-cancerous tumours of the salivary glands
3. Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol increases your risk of various types of cancers including cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, larynx (voice box) liver, and breast, according to reports from National Cancer Institute. The risk increases for alcohol consumers who also smoke.
A previous discovered that alcohol was strongly linked to the diagnosis of breast cancer and the risk increases with the dose. It is advisable to limit alcohol consumption or drink in moderation. Women should limit their alcohol consumption to one glass daily and men to two glasses on regular basis.
National Cancer Institute reports that when meat is cooked at high temperatures such as grilling over an open fire or frying in a pan, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) chemical are formed.
HCAs are created when amino acids, sugars, and creatine react at high temperatures. PAHs, on the other hand, are formed when fat and juices from meat over an open flame drip into the fire, causing flames.
Significant exposure to HCAs and PAHs can cause cancer in animals. Tumours of the breast, colon, liver, skin, lung, and prostate developed in animal test subjects. Although the dosage was much higher in the animal test subjects than consumed by human beings, evidence suggests that cooking meat at high temperatures could have devastating effects on our gastrointestinal tract.
5. Sitting too much
Sedentary behavior such as sitting or lying down for long periods daily can increase risk of colon and endometrial cancer. Physical activity and exercise could potentially lower your risk of developing different cancers and other chronic illnesses. According to reports from National Cancer Institute physically active people had a nearly 25% lower risk of developing colon cancer than physically less active people.
Being physically inactive is also associated with a number of other conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes.