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6 Surprising Things That You Didn’t Know Cause Cancer 

Cancer isn’t just caused by smoking!

Published
Health News
4 min read

You know that sitting is the new smoking and that prolonged hours in the office chair can give you cancer, right? Tobacco consumption will surely lead you to the big C, but did you know that sometimes, everyday choices can also put you at a higher risk of this deadly disease?

While some substances don’t affect your DNA directly, they can lead to cancer in other ways - by causing cells to go mad and multiply and divide at a much faster rate. Here are six everyday situations that you may not have known are carcinogenic:

1. Processed, Red Meat

If you eat lots and lots of red meat, it’s time to probably cut down (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@ScottBoer)
If you eat lots and lots of red meat, it’s time to probably cut down (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@ScottBoer)

You’ve probably read the headlines, processed meat is a ‘definitive cause’ of cancer and red meat is a ‘probable’ cause. Before you go in a collective sigh of exasperation, and conclude, ‘everything you love causes cancer’, get the basics covered.

For every 50 grams of processed meat, the risk of colorectal cancer increases by 18%. The World Health Organisation reached this result after 22 scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer evaluated more than 800 studies from various countries.

Though this is not totally ground breaking, it has been known since long that processed meats are high in sodium and fatty acids - but exactly how is processed meat causing cancer is still not clear.

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2. Parabens

(Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@Sephora)
(Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@Sephora)

99% of breast cancer patients have parabens in their body.

Not to freak you out but there are horrible chemicals in practically every beauty product you use and all those could get absorbed into your bloodstream and build up toxicity over time.

Nearly all cosmetics come with chemicals that can potentially harm you except if you go in for the organic range (Photo: The Quint)
Nearly all cosmetics come with chemicals that can potentially harm you except if you go in for the organic range (Photo: The Quint)

Research has shown that it’s the high doses of aluminium salts used in most cosmetics, including deodorants that impact the reproductive organs in mice. Most skin care products contain parabens, which like estrogens, can lead to diminished muscle mass, extra fat storage, abnormal tumour growth.

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3. Alcohol

New dietary guidelines in the UK clearly say that no amount of drinking is recommended on health grounds.

It’s the first shake-up of its kind in 20 years. Experts are warning bluntly that no level of regular drinking is without risks. Till a few years back, the guidance was that drinking small amounts of alcohol, especially red wine, can cut heart disease risk in men and women over 40. But now, experts clearly state that “the evidence supporting protective effects today is now weaker than it was in 1995.”

Also Read: A Tidal Wave of Cancer is Coming, Can India Handle the Impact?

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4. UV Radiation

The sun is the best natural source of vitamin D. However, too much UV exposure from the sun is a major cause of sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and skin damage leading to  skin cancer (Photo: The Quint)
The sun is the best natural source of vitamin D. However, too much UV exposure from the sun is a major cause of sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and skin damage leading to skin cancer (Photo: The Quint)

Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer which can spread to other parts of the body, including lymph nodes and distant organs. It is mostly caused by the UV rays of the sun and tanning beds, which aren’t prevalent in India.

95% skin cancers are a direct result of UV rays in the sunlight

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5. Working In the Night Shift

Women who work night shifts are at a greater risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and strokes, than those who work 9 to 5, according to researchers.

(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)

In one of the largest studies of its kind by scientists in the US, doctors found those who worked rotating night shifts for five or more years were at an increased risk of death from heart diseases and cancers. In fact a mere 5-year-stint in the night can increase your chances of cancer by 11%.

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6. Diesel Engine Exhaust Fumes

(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)

Diesel engine exhaust fumes cause cancer and belong to the same potentially deadly category as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas, according to the World Health Organisation.

Research has shown that regular exposure to diesel fumes is a big cause of lung cancer and as bad as passive smoking!

So folks, be careful out there!

Join us in a conversation about cancer awareness and how we can fight this deadly disease. Write to us at fit@thequint.com.

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