This 1 Nasty Habit May Be Increasing Your Cancer Risk

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases you can get. So it only makes sense that your biggest question whenever you see your doctor is: Am I doing everything I can to prevent cancer? It might be a matter of replacing poor habits with better ones. Bad habits that increase cancer risk aren’t easy to break, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Here are the terrible habits increasing your cancer risk (including No. 1, which is sure to give you cancer), and how you can avoid them.

15. Using talcum powder

bottle of talcum powder

Asbestos can cause cancer. | LoveTheWind/Getty Images

If you use talcum powder, check its ingredients to make sure it does not contain asbestos. Repeatedly inhaling this compound has been shown to cause cancer in humans. It isn’t usually used in modern products, but it can’t hurt to be safe and check.

Next: Be careful what you drink.

14. Drinking sweet tea

Ice tea

As good as it sounds, excessive sugar intake increases cancer risk. | pilipphoto/Getty Image 

Tea contains antioxidants, which might help decrease your cancer risk. But sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, lemonade, juice, and sweet tea do indirectly increase your risk of developing cancer. Excessive sugar intake can cause weight gain, which significantly increases cancer risk.

Next: Could this habit be worse than smoking?

13. Skipping exercise

Active senior man working exercise in the gym.

Exercise is always worth the effort. | Liderina/iStock/Getty Images 

You can make all the excuses you want, but physical activity is worth the effort — especially if you want to decrease your chances of getting cancer. Avoiding exercise can increase your risk of certain cancers, and being active improves your health in more ways than anything else ever will.

Next: Don’t make this destructive habit a nightly ritual.

12. Sleeping with the TV on

remote pointing at TV

Who knew this habit could be so dangerous?| Gpetric/iStock/Getty Images

This may be a long-standing habit embedded into your sleep schedule, but it’s time to hit the off button. Some research suggests sleeping while exposed to blue light can increase your cancer risk — or, not getting enough sleep because of the background noise could do it instead.

Next: If you aren’t eating these foods, you should be.

11. Avoiding foods containing antioxidants

Blueberries

Antioxidant rich foods like blueberries should be embraced. | MICHAEL URBAN/AFP/Getty Images 

Antioxidants protect your body as it breaks down with age, a process that can promote cancer cell growth. Humans get a lot of antioxidants from their diets — or, they should, anyway. Make sure you’re eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods to lower your cancer risk.

Next: If your doctor says you should try this, listen!

10. Not trying to lose weight

young healthy girl on home scales

Weight gain puts pressure on your body. | Ensuria/Getty Images 

It’s estimated that almost half of the cancers diagnosed in the United States develop because of obesity. Weight gain puts a lot of stress on your heart and other organs, but it also might lead to more subtle changes, like hormone imbalances, that could eventually trigger cancer cell growth.

Next: This preventable mistake could cut your life short.

9. Not wearing sunscreen

man playing Frisbee on beach in summer

Lather up before you head outside. | iStock.com/Yulia-Images

Overexposure to sunlight increases your cancer risk, even if you wear sunscreen but don’t apply it correctly. In addition, experts advise wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and clothing made with ultraviolet-protective fabric.

Next: Your health could improve significantly if you got this habit under control.

8. Letting stress get the best of you

nervous stressed young woman

Finding ways to manage stress goes a long way toward cancer prevention. | iStock.com/SIphotography

Being stressed all the time doesn’t directly cause cancer to start growing in your body. However, long-term stress can cause you to develop other habits that promote cancer, such as smoking. Adopt stress management techniques to help you cope.

Next: Believe it or not, your dentist’s advice could save your life.

7. Not flossing your teeth often enough

Container with dental floss

Gum disease and cancer are linked. | BLACKDAY/Getty Images

If you don’t floss, you risk developing gum disease. This slightly increases your chances of developing cancer — so listen to your dentist’s warnings. Professionals recommend cleaning between your teeth once every day.

Next: You might need to learn to love these foods.

6. Not eating your vegetables

Broccoli in pan on wood kitchen table

Broccoli is a great cancer-fighting food. | phasinphoto/iStock.com/Getty Images 

Among the many foods that might reduce your cancer risk, coniferous vegetables might be most essential. Foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts have plenty of health benefits, especially as you age.

Next: Try not to eat too much food prepared like this.

5. Eating meat that’s past well-done

hamburgers grilling on charcoal grill

Burned food isn’t good for your body. | Delmonte1977/iStock/Getty Images

Do you prefer your meat mostly charred? Medium-well might be a healthier option. Cooking red meat at high temperatures can trigger the release of cancer-causing compounds, which you probably don’t want to consume too often.

Next: This isn’t the only kind of meat that can destroy your body.

4. Eating processed meat

ham sandwich

That lunch meat should be skipped all together. | colinhui/Getty Images 

Cured products like bacon, sausage, and many deli meats go through a kind of processing that might increase your cancer risk. While slightly more nutritious than pure junk food, processed meat might not be worth the risk.

Next: This habit actually isn’t that hard to break.

3. Spending too much time sitting

Business woman writing on a computer in the office

This function of many people’s jobs can be bad for your health. | Rostislav_Sedlacek/iStock/Getty Images

Do you spend a lot of time with your butt in a chair? You might want to do something about that. Your risk of developing cancer increases significantly if you don’t move throughout the day. Even getting up and walking a few hundred steps every hour can make a huge difference over time.

Next: Do this less if you don’t want to quit entirely.

2. Drinking too much

Two wine glasses

Keep your alcohol intake under control. | ValentynVolkov/iStock/Getty Images

Drinking excessively can increase your risk for multiple types of cancer. However, low and moderate alcohol intake might actually be good for your health. Try to stick to just a drink or two per night at the most to take advantage of the benefits.

Next: This is one of the most-researched cancer-causing habits.

1. Smoking tobacco

cigarette in the hand

Kick this bad habit. | iStock.com

Cigarette smoke destroys your body more and more the longer you keep up the habit. And it doesn’t just put you at risk for lung cancer, either. Inhaling those chemicals can cause the development of cancer cells almost anywhere in your body.

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