There is said to be over 200 types of cancer and it’s considered to be the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
In a fast-paced world filled with pollution and the mass production of foods, some health-related issues are out of our control. However, you can greatly reduce your risk of cancer by avoiding tobacco, limiting your alcohol intake, limiting UV rays exposure, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying physically active.
Let’s look at 2 great vices: Tobacco and Alcohol
Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer and of death from cancer. Even secondhand smoke can cause cancer because it has many harmful chemicals that damage our DNA. Chemicals from tobacco smoke enter our bloodstream and can affect our entire body.
For this reason, tobacco causes many different kinds of cancers, it’s not just limited to the lungs. It can also cause cancer of the larynx, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, stomach, pancreas, liver, colon, and rectum. This is almost every part of your body so it’s not surprising that tobacco is the biggest killer.
There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and at least 250 of them are known to be harmful. These harmful chemicals include carbon monoxide and ammonia. Yuck. Of the 250 harmful chemicals found in tobacco, 69 of them can cause cancer.
Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, causing 87% of lung cancer deaths in men, and 70% of lung cancer deaths in women. Women smokers are 25.7 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smoking women. For men smokers, the risk is 25 times more.
The good news is that lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer in the world.
Not all alcohol is created equally, but there is a correlation between high alcohol consumption and cancer. Here are the main types of alcohol drinks and the alcohol content they contain:
Beer: 3-7% alcohol
Wines, sake: 9-15% alcohol
Liquor or distilled spirits: 35-40%
Research evidence shows that the more alcohol a person drinks regularly over a period of time, the higher their risk is of developing an alcohol-related cancer.
People who consume more than 3.5 drinks per day have at least 2-3 times greater risk of developing cancers of the head and neck, such as cancer of the oral cavity, throat, and larynx. Other cancers that can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption include esophageal, liver, colorectal, and breast cancer.
In a breast cancer study, women who drank 3 drinks per day or more had 1.5 times the risk of getting breast cancer than nondrinkers. The Million Women Study in the United Kingdom provided another, rather alarming, an estimate of breast cancer and alcohol: every [less than] 1 drink of alcohol consumed per day was related to a 12% increase in the risk of breast cancer.
Again, there are elements that have a negative effect on our health that are out of our control. Smoking and alcohol consumption are not those elements. We are in complete control of our use of tobacco and alcohol.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Yet, it’s important to choose our vices wisely, and always in moderation.