Did you know that cancer is on the rise among young Americans? For a long time, it was people aged 65 and older who were most prone to cancer. However, that seems to be changing. New research reveals that people between the ages of 30 and 39 are experiencing a 19.4% increase in cancer cases.
The research used data from over 560,000 cancer patients between 2010 and 2019 and does raise some eyebrows. Why is this happening? Some experts believe that unhealthy lifestyle choices are a silent invitation to cancer. From the food we eat to the amount of exercise we get, there are many lifestyle factors that put us at risk. In this article, we will look at five of them.
1. Career And Profession
The choices we make regarding our careers and professions have far-reaching consequences for our lives. Certain careers inherently expose individuals to carcinogenic substances and environmental hazards, which increase their risk of cancer.
For instance, firefighters are often exposed to chemicals in Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in their fire extinguishers. Chemicals in AFFF have been linked to a significant increase in cancer risk.
Even with all the safety methods and precautions that firefighters commit to, there is still some degree of exposure. In fact, AFFF foam cancer lawsuits are constantly being filed by affected firefighters.
According to TorHoerman Law, companies such as 3M, DuPont, and others are all facing potential legal action from cancer-afflicted firefighters. The range of cancers due to AFFF exposure is frightening and includes more than thirteen different types.
2. Unhealthy Habits
Sometimes, we are directly responsible for the damage we do to our bodies. Some habits that people indulge in have a direct correlation with cancer. The obvious example would be tobacco usage; however, there are other unhealthy habits that are just as dangerous.
For instance, sedentary lifestyles are associated with an elevated risk of various cancer types. Alcohol can also promote cancer development by disrupting DNA repair mechanisms and increasing the number of dangerous free radicals in your body.
Regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight and promote the body’s ability to repair DNA damage, reducing cancer risk.
3. Diet And Nutrition
It has become common knowledge now that diets rich in processed meats and charred or smoked foods can be carcinogenic. With such foods, you ingest compounds such as heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds are known to cause gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers.
If your diet has been heavy on such foods, you should seriously consider a diet overhaul. Research has consistently shown that adhering to a Mediterranean diet is extremely healthy.
You don’t even have to make a drastic switch. Even a reduction in processed and charred meat in combination with more greens can be healthy. If you value your protein intake, consider swapping for leaner sources like chicken breasts and fish.
4. Stress Management
You might find many studies claiming there is no link between stress and cancer. However, those studies fail to look at the broader context. It is true that stress on its own does not cause cancer. However, prolonged stress triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol.
Cortisol is known to cause cancer when you are exposed to it over time. Thus, chronic stress indirectly increases cancer risk due to the cortisol it triggers. Consider looking into stress management techniques that you can use to bring high-stress levels under control.
5. Sun Exposure
Skin cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer worldwide, is closely linked to sun exposure. Exposure to the sun is a primary cause; however, not all of the sun’s rays are harmful. It is primarily UVB rays that are responsible for skin damage and cancer.
UVB radiation penetrates the skin and damages the DNA in skin cells. Over time, this damage can accumulate, leading to mutations and potentially triggering the development of skin cancer.
Regular and thorough application of sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer, so ensure you always have sunscreen when going out. In a pinch, you can also make do with hats, sunglasses, and any protective clothing that can help minimize exposure.
Our lifestyle choices have a key role to play in determining the risk of developing cancer. On a day-to-day basis, we tend to overlook precautionary efforts. We think, “Oh, it’ll be fine.” Unfortunately, the risk of cancer is not worth that gamble.
If there are lifestyle habits and choices that are known to be associated with cancer risks, please reconsider your actions. Millions of people wish they could turn the clock back to live healthier lives.
Whether those regrets involve wishing to eat cleaner, exercise more, or take a safer job, it doesn’t really matter. Once cancer strikes, the battle is hard and tough. Save yourself the pain and start taking inventory of your lifestyle habits today.