What are we? We are not static beings. We are a collection of various cells constructed of 50 various types of proteins that group together to perform various functions. There are ten times the cells in our body than there are stars in the observable Universe. And those cells die and reproduce every second so that we keep living, approximately at a rate of 1-3 million per second. This defines us, in short.
What is cancer? During cell reproduction, some cells mutate by pure chance or the effect of some sort of chemical or external agent and are broken and refuse to die when their time comes. These cells that have broken the natural contract are, simply put, cancer cells and the external agents that are responsible for cancer are known as Carcinogens.
There are three key factors that cause Cancer
- Random Gene Mutation during Cell Replication
- Environmental factors i.e. exposure to Carcinogens, and
- The third factor is Hereditary.
Cell replications takes place millions of times in our body every day. During one such cell replication, if the cell mutates randomly and effects an important gene, the resultant cells become cancer cells and they keep replicating like normal cells and sometimes even faster leading to the disease. Research show that this is the reason behind two-thirds of the cancer cases.
Jumping to the third factor, sometimes patients can inherit mutated genes from a parent who had cancer. International Agency for Research on Cancer lists a variety of carcinogens starting from radioactive substances to smoking, chemicals and food that is in our daily diet.
Here’s a list of 11 lesser known things that could probably cause Cancer.
1. Scented Candles: Aromatic candles sure do soothe you but it does a lot more harm when used frequently and over a long period of term. Though most of the candles now don’t use Paraffin wax, a known carcinogen, still some scented candles have Benzene and Toluene which when breathed in over a long period of time can increase your risk of cancer.
2. Incense Sticks: In a research published in 2008, researchers found that among 60000 cancer free individuals between the ages of 40-80 years old had an increased risk of developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Respiratory Tract when subjected to years of breathing in the smoke from burning incense sticks. The aroma of jasmine incense once in a while might be nice but it is in the best interest of your health to not make a habit out of this.
3. Improper Oral Hygiene: In 2018, Oxford University researchers published a study in the August issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linking periodontal diseases to a higher risk factor of developing both lung and colorectal cancer. So, maintaining a proper teeth and gum care by brushing, flossing and use of mouth wash is imperative to a long and healthy life.
4. Sleeping with the TV On: A 2010 analytic article in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives published that the artificial blue light coming from the television may lead to a higher risk of cancer of the breast and prostate in men and women respectively. To quote Les Reinlib of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, UK, “Light at night is likely to be one of a number of factors that contributed to the increase in breast cancer over the last few decades.”
5. Pumping Petrol or Diesel: It is no secret that fossil fuels are laden with carcinogens and they stay even after the crude oil is refined into petrol and diesel or CNG for that matter. Carcinogens like Benzene hang around in the fuel vapours and get mixed in the air and breathing them increases the risk of cancer by quite a lot.
6. Stress: In our modern society, living comes hand in hand with a lot of stress and we have learned to live with it. While it does not directly cause cancer, but the consequences of stress like elevated blood pressure, sugar level and heart rate can inevitably lead to cancer.
7. Avoiding Fruits and Vegetables: It should come as no surprise that what we did not like doing as kids and avoided when our parents insisted is probably harming us right now. Eating less natural snacks like fruits when you feel hungry and reaching for that mouth-watering packet of processed food might increase your risk of cancer if it remains unchecked.
8. Not drinking enough water: Water not only hydrates our body, but cleans in too. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps dilute and flush out harmful substances from our body and potentially reduce the risk of cancer.
9. Eating too much rice: Too much of a good thing can be bad, sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Rice contains trace amounts of arsenic, a known carcinogen. Although the level varies throughout the world, consuming too much of it and too frequently, over a long period may increase your risk of developing cancer manifold.
10. Taking too many supplements: In 2015, a study at the University of Colorado Cancer Centre suggested that supplements should be taken carefully and the daily dosage should not exceed the prescribed daily limit. Ingesting more than the exceeded limit of supplements of Beta Carotene may increase the risk of cancer by as much as 20%.
11. Using makeup that contains Parabens: In the Journal of Applied Toxicology, a research was published that showed cheaper make up products that use parabens, can easily get absorbed through the skin can cause a spike in the growth of breast cancer cells.
Don’t start panicking yet. Even if you have come in contact with some of these, they might not have left you with irreversible damage. If you see the symptoms of cancer or feel you have exposed yourself to a number of carcinogens, consult the best cancer specialists in Maharashtra. If need be, get the best nuclear medicine at the best cancer hospitals that are made available to you in Maharashtra. All of these should serve as an advisory to practice a better health regimen to a better life.
Our team at Onco Life Cancer Centre is always here for further assistance in this battle against cancer.