- Exposure to Sun
In the summer, laying out on the beach is an extremely popular activity. People take to the ocean in droves to relax and get some sun. But while being in the sun can help you feel good, it’s also the leading cause of skin cancer. UV rays damage the fibers in your skin and can cause discoloration, tumors, and both precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
- Fake tanning
You might think that choosing an indoor tan is safer and healthier for you than tanning in the sun. However, studies have shown that tanning beds and all their associated equipment can be as deadly – and sometimes more dangerous – than sun exposure. Even one tanning bed session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20%, and the American Academy of Dermatology believes that over 400,000 cases of skin cancer each year may be caused by indoor tanning.
- Frequent flying
Whether you’re a flight attendant, a pilot, or a jet-setting businessperson, you are at a much higher risk of a variety of cancers. Female flight attendants have a 50% higher risk of breast cancer than women in other professions, and frequent flyers are four times more likely to get non-melanoma skin cancer. Cabin crews are also at an increased risk of cervix, thyroid, colon, liver, and stomach cancer. However, if you’re not a frequent flyer, you likely won’t be exposed to enough ionizing radiation to matter.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
Even if you don’t smoke yourself, exposure to secondhand smoke can raise your cancer risk. There’s really no safe level of exposure, and while most public places have banned smoking on the premises, it can be hard to avoid smoke in your home or at private gatherings. Being in the house of someone who smokes, even if they’re not actively smoking at the time, can still harm you; chemicals from cigarette smoke can stick around in furniture and carpets. The best way to protect yourself from secondhand smoke is to avoid people who smoke or places that allow cigarette smoking.
- Getting your nails done
With the rise in conscientious consumerism, many customers know that nail polishes traditionally contain cancer-causing compounds. Chemicals like triphenyl phosphate, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate can all cause cancer or congenital disabilities. The danger of getting your nails done doesn’t just impact clients, however. Manicurists are also at increased risk of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. If you’re a manicurist or simply love getting your nails done, make sure to only go to salons that provide gloves and masks. Check for proper ventilation as well!
Many adults work sedentary jobs, sitting at a desk for eight or more hours every day. If you’re not getting exercise, you’re in danger of developing colon cancer, breast cancer, or endometrial cancer. There are other cancers you’ll also be at higher risk of getting, including liver, myeloma, and kidney cancer. However, increasing the activity in your life can help improve your immune system, reduce inflammation, and lower the levels of certain growth factors that have been associated with cancer development and progression. So going for a walk every day, riding a bike, or taking a dip in a pool can help you lose weight and improve your health!
- Getting your clothes dry-cleaned
When you’re preparing for a special event, you want to look your best. For many people, that means getting your outfit dry-cleaned so that you know it’s truly stunning. However, most dry cleaning processes use a chemical called “perc,” which is a known health hazard. If you work in a dry cleaner or regularly get your shirts starched and pressed, you may be at higher risk for esophagus, kidney, and bladder cancer. If you absolutely must dry clean your clothes, try to minimize how often you do so. Since it’s regular exposure to the chemical that increases your risk of getting these cancers, infrequent dry-cleaning shouldn’t be an issue.
- Heating takeout containers
If you’ve ever reheated your takeout in the container it came in, then you may have put yourself at risk of exposure to styrene. Styrene is used in the creation of a variety of things, including many types of food containers. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to this chemical can increase your risk of cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as cancer of your pancreas or esophagus. While most people will only experience the potential of styrene exposure through food containers, people who work in fabrication can also be exposed. At home, you can limit your risk of exposure by directly transferring your takeout to a standard plate or bowl!
- Using weedkillers
If you love to garden, you probably hate weeds. But unfortunately, if you choose to take care of those weeds with weedkiller, you’re putting yourself in danger. Glyphosate, the most commonly used weedkiller, has been shown to be carcinogenic to humans. To keep your garden looking gorgeous without using harmful chemicals, consider turning to natural methods of weed control. Shade the soil around your plants, be careful about what types of compost you use, and make sure to pull up the entire plant when weeding by hand. Using a few simple tricks will help both you and your garden thrive.
- Asbestos exposure
People have known about the danger of asbestos for years, but older buildings – like schools, older homes, or older public buildings – may still put you at risk of exposure. Inhaling asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer that doesn’t have a cure. Insulation, fireproofing products, older consumer products, and construction materials all have the potential to contain asbestos. If you live in an older home, make sure to have it checked by an asbestos professional.
Compiled by AHT Desk