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5 Habits That May Increase Cancer Risk

Some lifestyle habits can often be cancer risk factors, and it is important to be aware in order to lower the risks. Read on to find out more.

By Sadhana Kumari
05 Feb 2022

Cancer is one of the leading chronic diseases in the world. According to the World Health Organization, one out of six deaths worldwide is due to cancer, and a static report reveals that 15 million new patients are expected in the year 2022. This makes it the second major cause of death after heart disease. Despite the careful research on the subject, cancer continues to be a major cause of concern. There are several cancer risk factors in our daily lives. Here are a few daily habits that can cause cancer that you should keep in mind.

  1. Smoking: Smoking cigarettes and tobacco can elevate the risk of getting cancer. The American Cancer Society confirms that tobacco smoke contains at least 70 known cancer causing chemicals. It damages our DNA and makes it difficult for cells to repair the damage. This is the reason for 15 different types of cancer in the lungs, bowel, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, ovary, bladder, cervix, and some types of leukemia. As per the 2010 research report of Clinical Medicine, passive smoking also plays a major role in promoting cancer and chronic infections in children.
  2. Eating processed food: Scientists from University of Paris found that people who eat a lot of ultra-processed food are more likely to develop cancer. A 2015 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer also reveals that the consumption of ultra-processed foods evidently causes colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. The same institution also categorized red meat like beef, pork, mutton, veal and lamb as foods that increase cancer risk.
  3. Using talcum powder: Talcum powder is a common product that we use in our daily life. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies talc that contains asbestos as “carcinogenic to humans”. A 2010 study on perineal use of talcum powder, published in the American Association for Research Cancer, concluded that 21 percent of increased risk of endometrial cancer was observed among postmenopausal women when they used talcum powder around genitalia or perineal area.
  4. Not checking cosmetic product labels: The use of personal care products is inevitable, and it might be surprising to know that according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, the chemicals paraben, which is used as a preservative in cosmetic products, and 1,4-dioxane (a trace contaminant formed as a manufacturing byproduct of some ingredients) have been linked to the growth of immortalised breast cancer cells.
  5. Being exposed to pollution: Air pollution is undeniably one of the root causes of cancer according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). According to the hazard assessment conducted by IARC, people living in polluted cities are continuously inhaling harmful components like carbon monoxide, lead, benzene, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, arsenic, and other pollutants. This has endangered the lives of millions of people causing cancers of the lung, liver, bladder, and pancreas. As per a press release in 2013, the scientists from International Agency for Research on Cancer revealed that there is sufficient evidence that outdoor air pollution increases cancer risks. Collected global data from 2010 indicated that 2,23,000 deaths from lung cancer were due to air pollution.

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