There are many obvious cancer culprits that we know now about and can avoid. Still, there are so many things that may cause cancer that we would never even suspect.
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Less Exposure, Less Risk
The simple truth of it all is that the less you are exposed to carcinogens (the term commonly used for cancer-causing agents), the less risk you have of developing the disease.
In fact, cancerous cells are commonly present in our bodies on a regular basis, but do no harm since healthy immune systems detect the cancer cells and eliminate them right away.
However, the problem worsens when cells are exposed to carcinogens for longer periods of time, and the immune system becomes weaker. These cells then have free reign to proliferate as much as they want.
The key to cancer prevention is to educate yourself. Here are 5 surprising places where cancer-causing substances like to hide:
1. Brown Rice
Arsenic was once in the arsenal of every self-respecting medieval assassin. Today, it’s probably in your pantry. A Consumer Reports study found that some brands of brown rice contain more of this toxic metal than white does. Arsenic may disable your body’s DNA repair system, so when cells are damaged, the DNA can’t bounce back, making it vulnerable to cancer-causing mutations, says Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a Consumers Union senior scientist.
Rinse rice before cooking (the water should run clear). And buy a bigger pot: Use at least a 6-to-1 ratio of water to rice instead of the typical 2 to 1. (Strain excess water.) When you eat out, limit yourself to two weekly servings of rice or rice-based foods.
2. Laundry Detergent
Your detergent removes stains—and may leave behind a toxic chemical. In 2011, an environmental group discovered 1,4-dioxane lurking in laundry detergent. The chemical isn’t a proven cancer causer in humans, but it has triggered liver and nasal tumors in rats. Worse, you won’t find 1,4-dioxane on labels because it’s an impurity, not an ingredient.