Common things you do that increase your chances of getting cancer!

Continuously, the media are always raising concerns over certain exposure or consumptions to certain foods, or lifestyle choices that may lead to specific cancers. Looking at the evidence there are many things that are widely known to be carcinogenic.

However, this may be a little miss read at times. When something has been labelled carcinogenic, it means that substance is more likely to increase your risk of obtaining certain types of cancer. Which, in my eyes, is still not good, anything that increases you’re your chances of getting cancer should really be left alone.

Which raises the question, what actually does carcinogenic mean?

Well, briefly mentioned before; a substance that is carcinogenic has the ability to manipulate a cell, adapting or changing certain cellular characteristics, allowing the cell to adopt a specific hallmark to encourage the cell to progress unregulated dividing at a much faster rate than other normal cells.

This is mostly due to the carcinogen affecting the DNA, causing mutations which affect certain proteins in the cell, leading to abnormal cellular function. However, in some cases, carcinogens can cause abnormal characteristics without causing damage to the DNA. Also, it is usually a chemical or substance that is found in the product or activity being carried out which causes the harm.

There are so many types of cancer-causing agents out there however, the four listed seem to be more popular than some others and are more likely for you to come across in your everyday lives.

Smoking

Starting with the obvious choice. For many years now smoking has been linked to cancer. To begin with, this was a little controversial. This was due to cancer being mostly expressed after many years
of consumption (long term use). Due to smoking being extensively studied health care professionals are aware of all the long term and short term negative health effects generated from smoking, cancer being just one.

Smoking has been linked to many cancers such as cancers of the lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukaemia.

This is probably due to there being over 4,000 chemicals found in cigarettes, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins.



Sunbeds
When I say sunbeds, I really mean UV light exposure, it just so happens that you are exposed to a significant amount of UV light when using sunbeds when obtaining a ‘good tan’. There are two types of UV light, these being UVA and UVB, both have been linked to skin cancer, plus premature skin ageing.

This is because UV light has been found to penetrate the skin causing damage to our DNA via dimerization. Dimerization leads to your DNA making bonds that it shouldn't, therefore producing mutations. Much evidence has been carried out in relation to support this link, plus if you look at Australia where the ozone layer is weaker skin cancer tends to be higher, than when compared to other countries.

So, if you are a keen tanner maybe change to applying self-tanning lotion, or at the least, you may consider reducing your exposure time when using sunbeds.

BBQ food

A nice sunny, hot, clear day, (to me) equals BBQ time!

Studies over the last few years have advised that some chemicals when cooking can be carcinogenic. The theory is that the longer you cook your food, more specifically meat, fish and poultry, the increased chance you have of increasing your risk of cancer. 

I know, a bit extreme, but it has been recommended not to overcook your food, you may have noticed especially when BBQ your food that the edges may become black, and it is this that is the carcinogen.

The blackened edges are found to contain heterocyclic amines (HCA). When amino acids and creatine are heated to a high temperature they form HCA which has been found to be carcinogenic. Regular high exposure of HCA has been linked to increasing the risk of cancers of the pancreas, colon and digestive tract.

This doesn't mean you cannot have any more BBQ’s, but try to cook the food to a good standard and be aware of HCA, and more importantly, try to reduce your dietary intake of HCAs eliminating regular exposure.

Alcohol

When I think of the negative health benefits of alcohol, for some reason cancer is low on the list. This may be due to some studies showing evidence that a small amount of alcohol will reduce your risk of cancer, this is because alcohol contains antioxidants.

However, alcohol has actually been found to cause 7 types of cancer, including breast, mouth and bowel cancers.

When consuming ethanol (alcohol) our cells convert ethanol to acetaldehyde, which is found to be toxic to our cells damaging DNA and preventing the cells from repairing the damaged DNA. Plus, acetaldehyde has also been found to speed up the growth of the hepatocytes, cells in the liver, which may increase the risk to DNA mutations leading to liver cancer.
So, if possible the advice would be to significantly reduce your exposure of alcohol and just to be on the safe side if you are strong willing, just don’t drink it.

I know, easier said than done!

If you have heard of any conflicting evidence please comment and let me know.

Oh, and don’t forget to like and share, much appreciated.

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