Look Out For These Everyday Habits That Can Cause Cancer

You will be shocked to know that many day-to-day habits can raise your risk of cancer. 

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Jun 19, 2020Updated at: Jun 20, 2020
Look Out For These Everyday Habits That Can Cause Cancer

Cancer can be described as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in any part of one’s body. The World Health Organization (WHO) report said that according to the estimated cancer burden in India in the year 2018, there were are about 1.16 million new cancer cases, 784,800 cancer deaths, and 2.26 million 5-year prevalent cases in India’s population of 1.35 billion. The report also unveiled that one in 10 Indians would develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in 15 Indians will die of cancer. The number of people suffering from the condition is increasing in India. There are many things that people can do to keep cancer at bay. You may not have the idea that these habits are seriously wrecking your health. Often, doctors recommend sticking to a healthy lifestyle to stay hale and hearty and minimise your risk to cancer. Till now, many renowned celebrities have lost their lives to cancer. Read on to know more about them, and avoid doing so.

We highlight some risk factors that can invite cancer

  • Tobacco: It is no brainer that smoking in any form is injurious to health. Thus, consuming tobacco in any way – betel-nut, cigarettes, or cigars can raise your risk of lung, oral and oesophageal cancers. Tobacco use causes various kinds of cancer, including cancer of the larynx (voice box), lung mouth, oesophagus, bladder, throat, kidney, stomach, liver, colon, pancreas, rectum, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukaemia.

  • Spicy and hot food: Did you know that intake of spicy/hot food can take a toll on your well-being? Yes, you have heard it right! Excessive intake of spicy/hot foods can lead to lung, oral and oesophageal cancers. Evidence from case studies suggested that a higher level of spicy food intake may be associated with an increased incidence of cancer. More researches are warranted to clarify our understanding of the association between the risk of cancer and high spicy food intake.

  • Not or minimal breastfeeding: Studies indicate that minimal breastfeeding decreases a woman's risk of breast cancer by about 30%. This has been shown in women with a BRCA1 mutation, that increases the risk for breast cancer. Minimal or not breastfeeding can be worrisome for a woman. Hence, breastfeeding should be done by women to lessen their risk of breast cancer.

  • Excessive sun exposure: Cumulative sun exposure causes squamous cell and basal cell skin cancer, while severe blistering sunburns, can cause melanoma later in life (usually before age 18). Other less common causes are repeated scars from disease or burns, x-ray exposure, and exposure to certain chemicals. Skin cancers are linked with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Thus, excessive sun exposure (sunbathing or unprotected exposure to the sun) can cause skin cancer.

  • Lack of physical activity: The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that at least eighteen per cent 18% of all cancers diagnosed are related to physical inactivity, body fatness, alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented. Not exercising and having excessive fatty foods, lower immunity, and that is why people are susceptible to cancers.
  • Oral sex: Having oral sex can be problematic as contracting a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection from oral to genital contact can be the reason behind oro-pharyngeal cancer.
  • Not eating fibre-rich food: Opting for a low-fibre diet can put you at the risk of dangers like colon cancer. Avoid excessive consumption of red meat and switch to fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grains, and legumes to increase your fibre intake.  

  • Multiple sexual partners: Those having numerous sexual partners are at the risk of getting human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which leads to cervical cancer.
(The article has been medically reviewed by Dr Deepak Parikh - Head of Dept of Head & Neck Cancer, Asian Cancer Institute, Surgical Oncologist ACI Cumballa Hill Hospital)

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