Cancer Risk and Lifestyle Choices

One in three of the seven million cancer death worldwide is caused by nine potentially modifiable risk factors, according to a study from Harvard Medical School. Being overweight causes your full fat cells to release chemicals that cause inflammation that can lead to cancer. Lack of exercise increases inflammation that causes cancer by the same mechanism as full fat cells.

Lack of fruit and vegetables deprives you of antioxidants that prevent cancer. Phytochemicals are substances found in plants that have been identified by researchers as beneficial to humans. We have identified only a few of the thousands of phytochemicals, and we do not fully understand how they work, but many have been linked to cancer prevention, such as capsaicin in peppers, lycopene in tomatoes, sulforophe in the cabbage family, allicin in onions and garlic, and genistein in soybeans.

Smoking exposes you to nicotine that causes blood vessels to grow and nourish cancer cells. Excess alcohol dehydrates cells, which can cause cancer. Unprotected sex exposes you to cancer-causing viruses. Urban air pollution and indoor smoke from solid fuels expose you to carcinogens in the air, and contaminated injections expose you to viruses and other agents that cause cancer. Excessive sun exposure or sunburns increase skin cancer risk.

You can improve your odds against cancer by avoiding overweight, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, exercising, avoiding smoking and alcohol, practicing safe sex, and avoiding indoor and outdoor air pollution whenever possible. Avoid injections unless they are necessary for health.