Eating Red Meat
Like processed meat, red meat can also contain nitrates and nitrites. However, even without these compounds, the process of cooking and eating red meat can expose you to other cancer-causing compounds, like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). When you grill a steak or cook a burger over an open flame, these compounds are created. So as mutagenic compounds, they can change your DNA in ways that can increase your cancer risk.
The American Institute of Cancer Research recommends eating less than 18 ounces of red meat per week to avoid increasing your risk of colorectal cancer. Lower your consumption of burgers and other red meat, including pork and lamb, and try subbing in meatless meals. Having Unprotected Sex
Sex has several health benefits, like reducing stress and boosting your immune system. However, having unprotected sex also comes with its own dangers. Most notably, having unprotected sex puts you at risk for contracting STIs like HPV and chlamydia, both of which have been linked to increased cancer risk.
Because both of these STIs can have subtle symptoms – or none at all – it’s essential to be regularly tested if you are engaging in unprotected sex. The easiest way to prevent exposure to these STIs is, of course, using protection. Exposure to Air Pollution
It’s no secret that air pollution is dangerous. Many components of air pollution have already been classified as carcinogens, but for the first time, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified outdoor air pollution as a whole as a cancer-causing agent. Particulate matter – a major part of outdoor air pollution – can increase the risk of lung and bladder cancer.
While we can’t just breathe less, we can still take action to protect ourselves and future generations. By supporting higher regulatory standards on industries that cause the most pollution and standing behind clean energy and improved mass transit, you can help work to reduce the risk of air pollution. Inherited Risk
One of the things we can’t change is who our parents are, but that can mean an increased risk of certain types of cancer. The most common cancer associated with inherited gene mutations is breast cancer, which develops from the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These gene mutations can also increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women, as well as pancreatic and prostate cancers.
While you can’t prevent these inherited gene mutations, knowledge is the key. Make sure to study your family history for increased instances of breast, ovarian, and other cancers. Check yourself regularly, both through self-screening and the appropriate procedures at your doctor. Taking preventative measures early and often can reduce your risk of developing these cancers. Asbestos Exposure
People have known about the danger of asbestos for years, but older buildings – like schools, older homes, or older public buildings – may still put you at risk of exposure. Inhaling asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer that doesn’t have a cure.
Insulation, fireproofing products, older consumer products, and construction materials all have the potential to contain asbestos. If you live in an older home, make sure to have it checked by an asbestos professional. If you’re concerned that your workplace may put you at risk of exposure, speak to your HR department or another person in charge to arrange an inspection. Eating Fermented Foods
While fermented foods can have a number of health benefits, there’s increasing reason to believe that some fermented foods can increase your risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Much like processed meats, some fermented foods contain high amounts of nitrates and nitrites, which react with proteins in your body to form nitrosamines.
We’re not suggesting you cut fermented foods out of your life completely, especially since the probiotics they provide can be beneficial to gut health. However, be mindful of how much you’re eating, and check ingredient lists if you’re not making your own. Eating a balanced diet that includes fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, or kimchi as a treat should be safe. Radiation Exposure
This one seems fairly obvious. Exposure to high amounts of radiation is dangerous and can damage your tissues. But even frequent exposure to small amounts of radiation can, over time, be hazardous to your health. Moreover, radiation can come from unexpected places, like your TV, cell phone, or even your car.
While the people at highest risk are those who work around radiation every day, it’s essential to monitor your radiation exposure and limit it when you can. Try to stay out of the sun and protect yourself from UV light. If you’re pregnant, older, or have a compromised immune system, it’s especially important to protect yourself from radiation. Exposure to Diesel Exhaust
Diesel fuel is a popular fuel for large engines, including trucks, buses, trains, and more. Unfortunately, while these vehicles offer benefits like better fuel economy and a more rugged engine that requires less maintenance, they also belch over 30 different types of carcinogens into the air.
Diesel exhaust is conclusively linked to lung cancer and may put you at higher risk for esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and more. If you drive a personal vehicle fueled by diesel, it may be time to consider switching. If you have to drive a diesel-powered car for work, limit the time you spend around your vehicle while it’s running, and ask your employer about a personal respirator. * Concluded