Last month fear was spread with the news that processed meat causes cancer. This resulted in a lot of protest from the meat industry.

Cancer arises when a normal cell progresses to a tumor cell as the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and external agents.

There are about 116 products that can cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Some of them are already widely known, while others are less obvious.

Here is a list of some substances:

  • Tobacco: We all know that smoking causes lung cancer, but still people continue to smoke. Also secondhand smoking  increases the risk of getting lung cancer and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer.
  • UV-radiation: Unprotected exposure to the sun or sun beds cause skin cancer. Always use sun screen.
  • Chemicals: Several professions who work with chemicals are at an increased risk of developing cancer: workers of aluminum production, leather tanning, paints, all coal industries, furniture making, mining, iron and steel industry, tar and oil treatments, and in the chemical industry. Always use the proper protection to minimize contact with the chemicals.
  • Processed meat and salted fish: Both contain a lot of sulfates and sulfites which are known to increase the risk of cancer.
  • Carcinogenic chemicals: Burned meat and high temperature cooking, like BBQ, increases the growth of free radicals.
  • Contraceptives: Any long term hormonal treatment can increase your risk.
  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use can cause liver cancer.
  • Viruses: Certain viruses like Hepatitis and the Human Papilloma virus are known to cause ovarian cancer.
  • Air pollution: Car exhausts and smog are severely damaging the lungs.
  • Pesticides: Not only the direct exposure of farmers, but also contaminated surface water causes the intake of pesticides.
  • Radiation of any kind, radioactive or even too much x-rays can be a risk factor.

The Cancer Foundation gives a few guidelines on how to significantly reduce your risk of getting cancer:

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form
  • Use sunscreen
  • Eat healthy
  • Watch your weight and be active
  • Avoid risky behavior and practice safe sex
  • Get your HPV (Human Papilloma Virus ) and hepatitis vaccines
  • Know your family’s medical history and get regular screenings

Some substances and foods can reduce the risk of getting cancer:

  • Vitamin C and antioxidants : Grapefruit, oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage
  • Vitamin E : Peanuts, almonds
  • Vitamin D : Salmon
  • Anti-inflammatory : Curcumin
  • Sulfur : Garlic, onions
  • Ellagic acid : Pomegranates, berries, red grapes
  • Omega 3 : Salmon, mackerel, flax seed
  • Lycopene : Tomatoes
  • Antioxidants : Green tea, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries
  • Beta-carotene : Sweet potatoes and carrots