The “Big C” is a hot topic usually best approached with delicacy. Fortunately, advances in medicine have enabled us to have some big wins here and there in our fight against this devastating disease. But what exactly are the latest scoop on factors that raise the risk of cancer? Here is a list of quite surprising sources of risk, to help you live more and live smart.
Drinking very hot tea
Don’t get us wrong: drinking green tea indeed has cancer-fighting properties. But believe it or not, some researchers insist the real issue is to not let your cup get rid of most of its heat. A 2018 Chinese study drinking tea that is way too hot could cause a spike in cancer risk. Experts think that the heat of the tea adversely affects the esophagus’ lining, which leads to higher damage if the tea drinker also happens to be a regular smoker and alcohol drinker.
Exercise is a surefire way to lower any risk of cancer. Statistics show that exercise brings down the risk of lung, breast and colon cancer by 7 percent. A downside to this is that researchers have yet to pinpoint how exactly exercise brings down people’s risk of cancer. With that, the next major challenge for the public health sector is how to get more people to have more healthy exercise to reduce cancer risk.
Did you know that taller people have a higher cancer risk than shorter people? There is evidence to argue that for every extra 5 cm in height the increased risk for some type of cancers is as follows: Kidney (10% increased risk); Pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer (9% and 11% increased risk respectively); Ovarian (8% increased risk).
When it comes to this unusual risk factor, it doesn’t end there. The enigma deepens as a 2016 study associated longer legs and the chance of colon cancer. Again, according to experts, growth factors in the body may be a major culprit in the link.
Smoke and fumes
We know the cliche about the kingly role of controlling the barbecue grill; get to know the risks too. People who spend way too much time searing the steak slabs risk getting chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) through their skin. These PAHs are certified as carcinogens or cancerous agents.
But there is a workaround, grill fans: experts think that people got higher levels of PAHs through absorption in the skin than they did by breathing in the smoke. Covering up while doing the barbecue grilling may look weird, but you can be sure you catch lesser carcinogens through the skin over the short term.
Despite advances in reconstructive plastic surgery, some breast implants are still major carcinogens that may spiral into cancer. What makes it more complicated is that lymphoma does not mean breast cancer, but instead are cancers that originate from the immune system.
As in everything, moderation is key, and this applies to alcohol. Research has found a link between drinking alcohol and cancer deaths. Alcohol is associated with a sobering range of cancers such as colorectal, breast, liver and esophageal cancers, as well as cancers of the throat and mouth. An interesting 2018 study conducted in mice has shown that the breakdown of alcohol in the mice’s body may release a chemical that adversely affects the DNA among stem cells in the blood, and which further on, may lead to cancer.
Finally, overweight or obese people need to take action. Excess weight leads the way to more than a dozen types of cancer, recent studies have found.
As in most of the cases above, there is more work to be done to get to the bottom of obesity leading to cancer. Some scientists think there is promise in finding a link between higher levels of hormones and abnormal cell growth, which in turn can heighten cancer’s risks.
This article on cancer risk factors is not complete without a discussion on what it takes to win the fight against the big C: a healthy lifestyle, starting with lower body weight. It goes without saying that while the best time to start being healthy was months ago, the next best time is now!