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Health and Fitness News

Caution: Cancer Ahead

Eight cancer-causing habits to cut from your life.

Cancer. It’s a diagnosis everyone fears. While many cancers can’t be prevented, others are directly associated with lifestyle choices and dietary habits. If you knew your habits were putting you at risk for cancer, would you change your ways? Because more than likely, there’s at least one cancer-causing habit in your life.

Wondering what they are? Keep reading to learn about eight habits that are known to increase your risk of various cancers. Then take steps today to lower your risk.

Habit 1: Stress

Stress is a normal part of life. The challenges you face and the trials you go through test your coping skills and make you stronger. Or at least they can, if you handle them right. So be honest and ask yourself how well you manage stress? If stress builds up and overwhelms you, then you’re at a greater risk for cancer. Even if you’re making use of of coping mechanisms such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or counseling, high levels of stress can still take their toll. Why? Because chronic stress, even when dealt with properly, leads to physical changes inside the body that may contribute to cancer.

Habit 2: Skipping Sunscreen

This one’s a no-brainer, but you’re more likely to get skin cancer when you don’t wear sunscreen. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers are all caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. UV rays harm your skin’s DNA until it’s unable to control cell growth. The result: cancer. And remember that it’s not just the sun that can harm your skin. Tanning beds and sun lamps are just as dangerous.

Habit 3: Sitting Around

If all you do every day is sit, you’re harming your body. An active lifestyle is known to lower your chances of developing at least 12 kinds of cancer, including colon and breast cancers. How can exercise do this? By reducing hormone levels that are linked to cancer development, reducing inflammation, boosting your immune system, and preventing obesity.

Habit 4: Sugar Overload

A diet that’s high in sugar doesn’t directly cause cancer, but it may indirectly lead to all sorts of cancer. Your body needs sugar for energy, but don’t go to the candy aisle. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy are the best sources of natural sugar. Foods high in added sugar contribute to obesity, which puts you at risk for cancer as well as diabetes and heart disease.

Habit 5: Sausage, Hot Dogs, and Bacon

Studies have shown that a diet high in processed meat increases your risk of colorectal cancer. Now classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen, processed meat includes sausage, ham, bacon, hot dogs, and certain deli meats. While the risk is small, it’s smart to limit the amount of processed meat you consume.

Habit 6: Smoking

Whether you smoke, inhale secondhand smoke, chew tobacco, or vape, your risk of cancer skyrockets. You hear most about lung cancer, but any of these activities also puts you at an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, bladder, kidney, pancreas, and cervix. Incredibly, it’s estimated that tobacco may be the cause of half of all cancer deaths.

Habit 7: Skimping on Dental Hygiene

You may be surprised to learn that your dental health is connected to your cancer risk. However, not taking care of your teeth and gums through regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups can lead to gum disease and inflammation, which may contribute to lung cancer or colorectal cancer.

Habit 8: Serving Up Too Much Alcohol

One or two drinks a day may be good for your health, but anything more than this puts you at risk for at least six types of cancer and other diseases. The more you drink, the greater your risk. So drink, but drink responsibly, with your long-term health in mind.