22 things you had no idea could cause cancer
So many new potential things that can cause cancer pop up all the time, making it hard to know what to believe and what to brush off.
However, it has been predicted that the number of new cases of cancer per year will rise to 23.6 million by 2030. It’s more important than ever to be aware of the things you’re doing every day that might be putting you at risk – especially when your health and wellbeing are essential right now.
From using scented candles to sitting too much, these are the cancer risk factors you probably didn’t know about, and for more ways to keep yourself cancer-free, be on the lookout for these 22 things that could lead to cancer:
1. Not managing your stress
Although stress doesn’t directly lead to cancer, your body’s response to that stress—via things like increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and elevated blood sugar levels—can inevitably lead to cancer if left untreated. In recent years, links have also been discovered between psychological stress and cancer, seeing as people under duress may develop certain bad behaviors like “smoking, overeating or drinking alcohol.
2. Skipping out on flossing
Are you keeping up with your oral hygiene? Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are all essential to staying healthy. In fact, a study found that gum disease is associated with a 24-percent increase in both lung and colorectal cancer. Meaning you need to start taking care of your mouth ASAP.
3. Sitting too much
In a review published, scientists analyzed data from 43 studies. And found that for every two additional hours of sedentary behavior a day, a person’s risk of colon cancer. Also endometrial cancer, and lung cancer increased by 8 percent, 10 percent, and 6 percent respectively.
4. Sleeping with the TV on
Artificial light that emanates from your TV screen is linked to both breast and prostate cancer. Light at night is likely to be one of a number of factors that contributed to the increase in breast cancer over the last few decades. Too much screen time before bed can also lead to cancer.
5. Using scented candles
There’s something so soothing about scented candles. But though they relax you almost immediately in the moment, they can also do a whole lot of damage down the road. Scented candles are full of potentially dangerous chemicals like benzene and toluene. And breathing them in regularly could increase your risk of cancer.
6. Burning incense
According to an oft-cited 2008 study, published in the journal Cancer, the smoke created from burning incense could cause cancer too.
In the study of more than 60,000 cancer-free individuals between the ages of 45 and 74. Researchers discovered that the long-term use of incense was associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the respiratory tract, a type of lung cancer.
So, while the occasional sandalwood incense stick might be nice every once in a while, making a daily habit out of this scented ritual could do your body major harm.
7. Using certain laundry detergent
Doing your laundry seems harmless enough, right? Well, not so much. According to the Environmental Working Group, some laundry detergents contain 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that could potentially be cancerous.
In past research, animals exposed to the chemical had higher rates of liver tumors than those who weren’t exposed. So be sure to choose your detergent wisely.
8. Going to the dry cleaner
And it turns out, using a dry cleaner isn’t a safer alternative when it comes to getting your clothes clean.
Reports from the EPA have found that perchloroethylene or “perc”—a chemical used by the majority of dry cleaners in the U.S.—could cause leukemia, as well as both liver and kidney cancers.
Look for a business that doesn’t use harmful chemicals, or skip out on the dry cleaner altogether.
9. Pumping gas
Filling up the car with gas is something most people do on a regular basis. Adding just a little bit more gas in after your nozzle clicks off, however, could be the thing that turns this habit into a cancer-causing one.
The EPA notes that the extra fuel could mess with the pump’s vapor recovery system, potentially releasing cancer-causing chemicals like benzene into the air you breathe.
10. Working the night shift
Recent reports estimate that as many as three million Americans now work the night shift. Though it might not seem like working when it’s dark out. And sleeping when it’s light would do any major bodily harm. The graveyard shift can increase a person’s risk of breast cancer, most likely due to melatonin suppression.
11. Not drinking enough water
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps everything in your body working properly. It also dilutes harmful substances in the urine, potentially helping to reduce your risk of bladder cancer, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
So drink up—not just because it reduces your cancer risk. But also because these are the effects of dehydration on your body, according to a doctor.
12. Using a plastic water bottle
But if your go-to water comes from a plastic bottle, you might want to switch to something that’s glass, steel or ceramic.
According to the nonprofit organization Breastcancer.org, research suggests that plastic beverage containers can contaminate liquids with potentially harmful chemicals like BPA, a weak synthetic hormone that can mess with your body’s hormonal balance and increase your risk of breast cancer.
There are still mixed opinions on whether plastic bottles actually cause cancer or not, but it’s best to steer clear.
13. Avoiding fruits and vegetables
Not a fan of fruits and vegetables? Well, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis has been shown to lessen your chances of developing cancer.
So it may be worth it to find a fruit or veggie or two that you can handle. And for more foods you should stock up on.
14. Eating too much rice
A 2018 research analysis published in the International Journal of Environmental Research, and Public Health found that a very credible threat to your overall health exists in your rice: arsenic.
Although the levels of arsenic can vary in rice across the world, any product that contains rice—including cereal—poses a risk of developing cancer.
15. Taking too many supplements
Though taking the right dose of daily supplements can prove to be beneficial to your health, a 2015 study from the University of Colorado Cancer Center suggests that consuming more than the daily recommended dose of any supplement could lead to cancer.
Specifically, the study discovered that even taking more than the recommended amount of beta carotene supplements increased lung cancer risk by 20 percent.
16. Eating processed meat
Veggie dogs might be the only safe summer BBQ option when it comes to preventing cancer. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer officially classified processed meat as a carcinogen. Noting that eating just 1.8 ounces a day can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.
17. Drinking too much
Having a drink here, and there is totally fine. But when you’re having more than one or two drinks per day, that’s when problems arise.
According to the American Cancer Society, overdrinking has been linked to a higher risk of throat, liver, colon, and breast cancer. So when you’re out, make sure to pace and limit yourself.
18. Making microwave popcorn
Sure, it’s quick, easy, and delicious, but microwave popcorn is also dangerous. The snack contains the chemical diacetyl in its butter flavoring, which can actually lead to lung issues, according to a 2013 study published in the PLOS One journal. Diacetyl is also one of the chemicals in e-cigarettes that has been causing concern as it pertains to cancer.
19. Drinking diet soda
While it is true that soda poses a risk to your health, it’s diet soda, with its copious amounts of aspartame, that has been shown in multiple studies to lead to blood-related cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.
For the sake of your health, you’d do best to indulge in the occasional full-sugar soda and stick to water as much as possible.
20. Wearing deodorant
If you haven’t ventured into natural deodorants yet, this fact will make you stock up immediately.
Although the American Cancer Society says no clear link has been made between deodorant and breast cancer at this time. Research has suggested that the aluminum compounds in deodorant that keep you from getting sweaty could cause damage after being absorbed by the skin, changing the estrogen receptors and potentially leading to breast cancer.
21. Flying frequently
Not many people are on airplanes right now—and that could be a good thing. Flying too often exposes passengers to high levels of UV radiation. So it makes sense that frequent flyers are putting themselves at serious risk of skin cancer.
This prolonged risk was scientifically proven by a 2015 study published in JAMA Dermatology, which found that at 30,000 feet, the UV levels are twice that of those on the ground.
22. Sleeping with your phone next to your head
Though you might like falling asleep to your favorite podcast, you should make sure to get your phone as far away from your head as possible while you’re sleeping.
In 2017, the California Department of Public Health came out with guidelines to minimize people’s exposure to the radio-frequency energy cell phones release, which has been linked to brain cancer.
Among their suggestions was “keeping the phone away from the bed at night.”