Most people are familiar with the common risk factors associated with cancer, such as smoking, family history, and exposure to radiation (including UV radiation from the sun).
However, scientists have found several surprising things that may raise the risk of certain types of cancer. Here are four important risk factors.
- Drinking hot beverages
In a study using data from 2004-2017, researchers looked at 50,045 adults who drank tea regularly. They found that higher tea temperature, a preference for very hot tea, and a shorter time between pouring and drinking the tea were all associated with a greater risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Results were published in Cancer Epidemiology.
The association between the temperature of the tea and ESCC suggests that it’s the temperature of the tea, not the tea itself, that may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. This may apply equally to coffee and other hot beverages.
- Too much sitting
It may not be surprising that exercise can help lower cancer risk. However, you may not realize how much a lack of exercise can increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
Researchers have found a connection between spending more time sitting around watching TV and a higher risk of colorectal cancer for Americans under age 50. In particular, the study found that women who watched more than 7 hours of TV per week had a greater risk of colorectal cancer. This connection existed even among study participants who did not already have a family history of colorectal cancer. The study was published in 2019 in JNCI Cancer Spectrum.
- Working at night
There are many health risks to working a night shift, from cardiovascular risks to depression to metabolic changes. According to recent research, cancer may be yet another risk.
One study of more than 25,000 participants looked at the combined effects of working the night shift, napping during the day, and nighttime sleep on cancer risk. The study found that men who had worked night shifts at least 20 years, without daytime napping, had an increased risk of cancer and cancer mortality.
There are several ways that your summer cookout may be increasing your cancer risk. The less surprising risk may be the exposure to smoke from the grill, similar to the risk of secondhand tobacco smoke.
Other risks come from the high cooking temperatures involved in grilling. Cooking meat over high temperatures can form chemicals known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Research suggests that HCAs and PAHs could cause changes in DNA, which can increase cancer risk. Grilling can also cause you to absorb higher amounts of PAHs through your skin, as well as the food.
Different research has also found that higher intake of red meat may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenomas. Most of these cancer cases were associated with red meat that was cooked until well done or by a high-temperature technique like grilling. Concerned about your cancer risk? Ezra offers a full-body MRI scan that can identify cancer in up to 14 organs. This comfortable, non-invasive scan can give you the knowledge and peace of mind you need to take control of your health. Book your scan today.