These Popular Habits May Raise Cancer Risk – Eat This, Not That

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease. “Most cancers are not inevitable. Genes are important, but diet and lifestyle are even more important in most cases,” says Dr. Ed Giovannucci, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “You can reduce the risk of cancer, and it’s never too late to start benefiting from the changes.” Here are five popular habits that increase the risk of cancer. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.


Numerous studies show that the use of tanning beds is linked to a higher risk of skin cancer. “The short answer is, yes, tanning beds are just as harmful, if not more so, than the sun and there is no such thing as a safe tan”, says dermatologist Jennifer Lucas, MD. “There are many reasons to avoid tanning beds altogether…It’s this younger female age group that is really starting to have an increased risk of melanoma. It’s hard to know exactly what to attribute this to, but probably the most important thing we see is that younger women are the ones in tanning beds the safest way to tan is to tan without the sun recommend tanning sprays or store bought lotions/creams or professionally done to achieve your healthy glow.

Sad woman drinking wine at the kitchen.

Experts are now warning that there is no amount of alcohol considered “safe” to drink. “Less than one in three Americans recognize alcohol as a cause of cancer,” said Harriet Rumgay, a researcher at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization. “It’s similar in other high-income countries, and it’s probably even lower in other parts of the world.”

Obese woman lying on sofa with smartphone eating potato chips

If you spend hours sitting at work and then hours watching television in your spare time, you are putting yourself at risk for serious health problems, doctors say. “Prolonged sitting increases the risk of colorectal, ovarian and endometrial cancer”, says Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at MD Anderson. “At least once an hour, get up and move. Stand while you’re on the phone or walk around the house during TV commercial breaks. A few minutes of light activity throughout the day can add up and help reduce your risk of cancer.”

no smoking sign

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, According to the CDC. “Fifty percent of smokers die from a smoking-related disease, and one in four smokers’ life expectancy is reduced by 15 to 20 years,” says Edward D. Gometz, MD. “Before the advent of widespread tobacco use during World War II, lung cancer was rare. So rare, in fact, that doctors were required to report cases of lung cancer to the federal government to help identify the local environmental cause of the condition among an affected population, much like reporting mesothelioma cases today. Today, it is estimated that more than 85% of all lung cancers are tobacco-related.”

man eating hamburger

Research shows that a diet high in processed junk food is strongly correlated with a higher risk of cancer. “The results of our study suggest that of the estimated 80,110 new cancer cases attributable to poor diet in 2015, about 16% were due to obesity-mediated associations,” says Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, cancer and nutrition researcher at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “For example, high consumption of sugary drinks (SSB) increases the risk of obesity and obesity increases the risk of 13 cancers. We estimated that more than 3000 new cases of cancer in 2015 were attributable to high consumption of are attributable to the direct carcinogenic effects of certain foods and still account for the majority (84%) of the diet-related cancer burden in the U.S. These include low intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables , dairy products and a high consumption of red and processed meats.”

Mast Ferozan

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer passionate about making science and research-based information accessible to the general public. Read more

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