Nearly 38 percent of the US population will get cancer at some point in their lives. Around 1600 people die of cancer every day in the United States alone. Over 1.7 million people in the US got diagnosed with cancer in 2018. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States with an estimate of 600,000 people dying from it every year.
Those are some scary facts about cancer. However, the intention is not to give you a scare but to make you aware of how widespread the condition is.
While the broad stats give us an idea about cancer and what causes it. On an individual level, we cannot exactly know why one person develops it and another does not.
In addition to risk factors, there are also certain protective factors that protect us from certain types of cancer. In this article, however, we will primarily focus on the risk factors that are based on research studies, which increases your chance of developing tumor or cancer.
1 Sipping hot tea
Nothing feels more relaxing than sipping a hot tea on a stressful day. Some research studies even found green tea may help prevent certain types of cancer. While you can enjoy your cup of tea every day but let it cool down a little first. According to a 2018 study done in china which involved about 450,000 volunteers, people who drank their tea burning hot, and smoked cigarettes with an occasional intake of alcohol, increased their risk for oesophageal cancer by 500 percent.
Scientists believe hot tea damages the lining of the esophagus, and when these damaged tissues come in contact with cigarette smoke and alcohol, the oxidative stress to the tissue gets increased several folds and potentially induces tumor in the area.
To reduce the risk, drink your tea lukewarm every time and do not smoke or consume alcohol.
2 Sedentary Lifestyle
This has become very common in modern days. We have smartphones, internet, social media, and computers that take care of most of our day to day tasks, and leaves us sitting on our chairs, sofas or couch for the most part of the day.
While there is nothing wrong with relaxing on your couch and enjoying your favorite movie or TV series, sitting for hours together every day raises a big red flag for many diseases including cancer according to a study published by Jamanetwork.
Good thing is, even a little physical activity like a little walk for a couple of minutes every hour reduces the risks of several types of cancer.
3 Being Tall
As strange as it sounds, the link between being a tall and increased risk of cancer has been first discovered in the early 1950s. A more recent 2018 study confirmed this link and found that for every extra 10 centimeters of growth, you increase your risk of cancer by 10 percent.
Scientists are not exactly sure how a person’s height increases the risk of developing cancer. They believe that a taller person has more number of body cells than a shorter person and therefore more number of available cells that can go through oxidative damage and chronic inflammation.
Another interesting study published in 2016 found that people with longer legs increase their risk of colon cancer.
While you cannot control your growth, if you find yourself taller than an average person in your geographical location, then take extra care with your diet and lifestyle to keep your risk at bay.
4 Smoke from the grill
Grilled meat on a summer day at your backyard is more fun. Unfortunately, smoke released from burning woods contains a certain type of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to be carcinogens.
The scary thing is these chemicals can get readily absorbed through your skin even if you do not inhale them directly. Next time you sit next to a block of burning wood, take extra precaution and cover up your skin.
5 Breast Implants
Breast implants make you look attractive, but also it can increase your risk of developing a rare type of cancer called anapaestic large cell lymphoma or ALCL, found a 2018 study.
Although the risk of developing this type of cancer is very low with 1 in every 7000 women with breast implants, it is still better to make an informed decision if you are considering to go for it.
Scientists are not sure exactly how breast implants increase the risk for the condition, they believe it could be because of certain implants causing inflammation in the breast tissue.
6 Alcohol Consumption
According to a statement released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, alcohol directly contributes to about six percent of cancer deaths every year across the world.
Drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing several types of cancers which include breast, colorectal, oesophageal, colon, and liver. Additionally, it is also believed to be a contributing factor for mouth and throat cancer.
Many people believe that drinking in moderation would eliminate the risk, but that is not the case. Research studies show the link between even little to moderate level of alcohol consumption to increased risk of cancer.
A 2018 clinical study on mice found that alcohol breakdown in the body releasing several chemicals that damage the DNA of the stem cells of the blood. Any damage to the DNA could lead to cancer.
7 Obesity and overweight
People who are overweight and obese could be doubling their risk for developing over a dozen types of cancer over people who maintain a normal healthy weight, according to a 2017 research study.
The reason could be the sedentary lifestyle and bad diet practices of obese people increase the level of inflammation and in turn increase the risk of cancer.
People with a healthy weight, on the other hand, most likely will have a healthy lifestyle and a better diet. This ensures they are relatively protected with a lower risk of developing cancer.
8 Passive or active smoking
Smoking tobacco is linked to at least 15 different types of cancer causes. A whopping 9 out of 10 lung cancer patients are found to be smokers, either active or passive.
Passive smoking is as bad active smoking. If you think you are being generous to one of your family members or a guest by allowing them to smoke, you are making a bad decision.
Smoke coming from cigarettes release several harmful chemicals into the air around you, and out of those nearly 70 chemicals can induce cancer.
If you are sitting in a room where a family member is smoking cigarettes, kick him/her out of the house and ask the person to do it outside in an open space where there is no one around to share the smoke they let out.
9 Your love for sweets
Natural carbs found in vegetables and sweets, do not immediately spike your blood sugar levels. However, consuming processed sugar in any form, be it beverages, cakes, milkshakes, chocolates will readily spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can increase your risk of developing insulin resistance or type-1 diabetes.
When higher levels of sugar in your body goes unprocessed by your body, it results in inflammation. And sugar is one of the major contributors to chronic inflammation, which is also a major reason for the formation of cancer cells.