Cancer risks infect daily habits

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Published 2011-09-12T19:35:00Z”/>


Kathleen Dazzi

Cell phones, potato chips, deodorant – it seems as if every day new things are popping up as potential causes of cancer.

For students, this means that changes in lifestyle, diet and habits may help them live longer, cancer-free lives.

Michelle Brown, a junior business administration major, doesn’t think college students are too concerned, she said.

“We just live in the moment and since we are young, we feel indestructible,” Brown said.

The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute websites provide reliable resources for cancer risk and prevention information.

Cancer’s origin and growth rate vary by kind, according to the American Cancer Society website. The exact cause of cancer is unknown, but scientists do know that changes in cells cause the onset of cancer. By reducing risk, it is possible to prevent or delay cancer.

But cells are not indestructible.

Carcinogens are substances known to increase the risk of forming cancerous cells or accelerate cancer growth, but they affect people differently, according to the American Cancer Society. While some carcinogens are proven to cause harm, some are only listed as probable causes.

Other carcinogens have inconclusive evidence of human harm.

Carcinogen studies with inconclusive evidence include those on the aluminum found in deodorants, radiation from cell phones and magnetic fields of electronic devices like laptops, according to the National Cancer Institute website. So don’t stop wearing deodorant just yet.

Carcinogens that have the most concern include those found in alcoholic beverages, tobacco and UV radiation. Ethanol and acetaldehyde are the carcinogens found in alcohol, so the American Cancer Society advises no more than two drinks for men per day and one for women.

Most cancers caused by tobacco and alcohols are preventable, said Charaighn Sesock, marketing director for the California division of the American Cancer Society.

“Over 16,397 lives will be lost to cancer in California because of tobacco use,” she said. “About 1,700 cancer deaths were related to excessive alcohol use, frequently in combination with tobacco use.”

Skin cancer is also preventable by avoiding UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds.

Imo Jean Alexander, a nurse at North Valley Dermatology Center, suggests using sun block and regularly self-examining skin for changes in moles.

“At least SPF 30 sun block, which contains titanium or zinc oxide, will filter both UVA and UVB rays,” Alexander said. “It should be worn anytime you go in the sun.”

Physical activity of 30 minutes or more for at least five days a week and a diet consisting of lots of whole grains, vegetables and fruits are beneficial, Sesock said.

Red meats and processed deli meats, like sandwich meats and hot dogs, should be limited. Regular cancer screenings are also a good precaution.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in California and is likely to develop in almost one out of every two Californians born today, Sescok said. Out of those that develop cancer, one in five will die from it.

“Two-thirds of cancers could be avoided if people exercised regularly, ate a healthful diet and avoided tobacco products,”

Sesock said.

Brad Mitchell, a senior business administration major, wasn’t concerned with cancer prevention until he lost his grandfather to the disease a few years back, he said.

“If cancer doesn’t directly affect people, they have no personal feelings towards preventing it,” Mitchell said.

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<strong>Kathleen Dazzi can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>


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