9 cancer risks that hardly anyone knows – and that can be avoided
Smoking, junk food, obesity – most people are familiar with these risk factors for developing cancer. But there are also sources of danger that you would never think of in life. It’s worth avoiding them in the future.
It can be the cream you put on your face every morning, the beloved hamburger or a habit at the wheel – behind some everyday behavior lurks a danger that hardly anyone knows: you increase the risk of developing cancer. You should therefore leave the following things in the future:
1. Choose your window seat on the plane
Most people enjoy seeing the landscape from above during take-off and landing. Air travelers also like to look at the clouds of cotton wool under the clear blue sky. But if you fly often and sit by the window, you risk skin damage. The window panes keep out most of the UVB rays that cause sunburn. But they let through 47 percent of UVA rays. They are responsible for skin aging and a risk of skin cancer . Because: UV radiation can damage the genetic material. If damaged cells do not die, skin cancer can develop.
2. Insert all receipts
The receipts on thermal paper come from many cash registers and payment devices. And: bisphenol A (BPA). The substance has been classified by the EU as “of very high concern”. It endangers the brain development of the unborn, is associated with male infertility and can cause heart disease and cancer. Every time you touch thermal paper, BPA enters the body through the skin and accumulates there. In 2020, an EU-wide ban on thermal paper containing BPA will come into force.
So: Until then, do not hold thermal receipts in your hand for a long time and do not let small children play with them.
3. Consume very hot drinks
Many people love their soup or tea steaming hot. But anyone who swallows fluids above 65 degrees Celsius is endangering their esophagus . Because this irritates the tissue and, in the long term, cell damage occurs, from which cancer can develop.
So: wait and see and let it cool down before you have a freshly brewed drink.
4. Drive through the rush hour traffic with the window open
As long as there are no clean cars or driving bans in cities, diesel exhaust poses a specific risk of lung and bladder cancer. The WHO investigated this several years ago . Professional drivers or road construction workers are particularly at risk. But even on daily trips through rush hour traffic with stop-and-go locomotion, you get the dangerous diesel residues off.
So: close the window when the queue of cars only crawls forward.
5. Avoid using condoms during sex
Anyone who lives in a monogamous relationship will no longer be infected with the cancer-causing human papilloma virus. Because the greatest risk of HPV infection is unprotected intercourse with changing partners. The most common type of HPV cancer is cervical cancer, which usually develops many years after first exposure to the virus. Infection with certain HPV types can also lead to malignant tumors in the vagina, labia, anus and penis.
So: A vaccination of girls and boys before the first sexual intercourse can prevent infection . Otherwise, condoms offer protection against HPV infection.
6. Use cosmetics with mineral oils
Oils care for the skin, but they shouldn’t be mineral oils. However, these are found in many cosmetic products, from skin cream to lipstick – for example when the ingredients are paraffin, petrolatum or mineral oil. The group of aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) poses a health risk. They have the potential to change the genetic makeup and cause cancer. They are filtered out of cosmetics – a decent residue remains, as the testers from the Stiftung Warentester found back in 2015.
7. Drink an after-work beer – or two, three …
Those who drink alcohol not only have an increased risk of liver cancer, but also of mouth and throat cancer and breast cancer. Unsurprisingly, this risk increases with the amount of alcohol. But there is no “safe” lower limit, especially for breast and liver cancer. Various substances that are produced when alcohol is broken down in the body probably play a role here.
So: If you don’t want to do without your Pilsner beer or a glass of wine with your meal or to relax, you should at least stick to the permitted quantities: half a liter of beer or a quarter of wine per day for men, half of it for women.
8. Staring at your smartphone at night
Studies have shown a link between low levels of melatonin and a higher risk of cancer.
The release of the sleep hormone is hindered when light breaks through the nighttime darkness . Smartphones and tablets are a common source of the bright glow in the dark bedroom nowadays. They delay falling asleep or wake the user with incoming messages that are immediately responded to. The sleep cycle is constantly interrupted and chronic sleep disorders develop – a risk factor for cancer.
9. Skip doctor’s appointments
If you don’t see a doctor, you won’t get cancer because of it. The regular check-ups and preventive appointments with the doctor but can ensure that a tumor early discovered no fatal cancer. The colonoscopy and cervical smear can even prevent abnormal cells from becoming cancer in the first place.
So, go for cancer screening when it’s time or when you’re invited.
Most important risk factors: smoking, poor diet, obesity
In addition to the cancer risks mentioned, which we should avoid, there are large avoidable risk complexes that oncologists have long warned against. Around every third malignant tumor would not have to be if people were to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Current evaluations by the German Center for Cancer Research (DKFZ) have shown that over a third of all new cancer cases in Germany can be attributed to controllable risk factors .
The Heidelberg scientists calculated that there were almost 165,000 fewer cancers per year if certain risk factors were eliminated. Smoking, poor diet and obesity play the most important role here:
19 percent of all cancer cases in Germany are due to smoking. Unhealthy eating is responsible for almost eight percent and overweight for seven percent of cancer cases. A lack of exercise follows closely behind.