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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Tanning, Trans Fat, Shift work and Other Things That May Cause Cancer

Cancer is a condition in which there is a rise in the number of abnormal cells which attack the body tissue and destroy it. There are more than a 100 types of cancer. Although many forms of treatment are available, effectively curing the disease largely depends on the type of cancer and how early it was identified.

Today we look at things that are part of our daily lives which are suspected to be cancer-causing agents.

Air Travel

A woman at an airport

Frequent flying has been linked with cancer., Credits: Freepik

Frequent air travel has been linked with cancer on many occasions by experts. A 2014 study titled The self-reported health of U.S. flight attendants compared to the general population showed that frequent flying females suffered from 38% more reproductive cancers.

There are other studies which have linked frequent air travel to other types of cancer as well.


Being exposed to the sun for long periods of time can lead to skin cancer. The rays of the sun contain UV light which can have adverse effects on the skin. Recent studies have shown that tanning which is done through artificial tanning machines can also cause skin cancer. Studies have linked it to melanoma.

Trans fat

Different types of doughnuts cancer cause

Food items such as doughnuts contain trans fat., Credits: needpix

Trans fat which is also known as trans unsaturated fatty acid which is found naturally in certain food items and is added artificially in others. Food items such as doughnuts and microwavable popcorn. There are various studies which link trans fat intake to breast and colon cancer.

Unpurified Water

Tap water cancer cause

Unpurified water may contain chemicals which can cause cancer. Credits: Pxfuel

Unpurified water is a major source of many infectious diseases but it has also been linked with cancer. Tap water can contain small quantities of chemical compounds such as arsenic which cause cancer. It is very important to drink purified water.

Shift Work

Working in night shifts, often called the graveyard shifts, is believed to have many ill effects on an individual’s health. Experts believe that sleep patterns, especially the time of day you sleep at requires much more research to have a clear conclusion.

Working through the night has been linked with cancer and a suspected reason is the loss of body rhythms.

Dry Cleaned Clothes

It has been found that prolonged exposure to chemicals that have been used in dry cleaning can lead to cancer. One common chemical called tertracholororythlene is widely used in dry cleaning and is suspected to be a carcinogen. Certain regulatory bodies have classified it as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Disposable Food Containers

A styrene plastic container

Some food containers contain a carcinogen called styrene. Credits: wikimedia commons

Most disposable food containers are made from plastics. The plastic industry widely uses a known carcinogen in their manufacturing process called styrene.

When hot food items come in contact with plastic products, there is a chance of styrene seeping into the food products. Avoid using plastic containers for food.

No Physical Activity

Physical activity is a must to be a healthy human being yet there are individuals who do not get any exercise. The lack of physical activity increases the risk of endometrial, breast, and colon cancer. In addition to this, lack of exercise also plays a role in weight gain which may lead to obesity.

Obesity also increases the risk of many other ailments apart from cancer.


More research is needed to understand exactly which activities lead to cancer but the current research is enough to take precautions. Get enough exercise, use sunscreen when out in public and avoid exposure to chemicals. These small changes may be enough to protect you from cancer.

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