5 (Lesser-Known) Ways To Lower Your Cancer Risks

african american woman eating apple(BlackDoctor.org) – To reduce cancer risks, science has already clued us in to a few things we should avoid, such as smoking and overexposure to the sun. But today, thanks to new medical discoveries, there are even more steps we can take to help avoid it completely!

Risk 1: Obesity

Being overweight or obese is a known cancer cause. In fact, excess weight is linked to an increased risk for developing more than a dozen types of cancer, including breast and pancreatic cancers. The American Cancer Society stresses the need to keep your weight in check by, first, eating right:

• Eat a diet that’s limited in processed foods and red meat, five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day and whole grains.

• Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women or two for men.

Risk 2: Lack of Exercise

Diet alone usually isn’t enough to maintain a healthy body and cut your cancer risk. So, pick an activity that suits your level of fitness and get moving.

• Adults should be physically active for at least 30 minutes on five or more days a week.
• Children should engage in physical play for at least 60 minutes five days per week.

Risk 3: Infection

Infections from viruses, bacteria, and parasites are a known cancer risk in up to 20 percent of all cancers. Several of those viruses are sexually transmitted, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

You can reduce your risk for getting these types of viruses by using condoms during sex. Women can reduce their risk of cancer from HPV by getting a vaccine. In fact, the American Cancer Society now recommends the HPV vaccine for girls who are nine and older.

Risk 4: Chemical Exposure

A variety of substances found in common products are known to be a cancer cause. Two of particular interest:

• Asbestos, a fibrous substance, is found in many older buildings where it was used as insulation and as a fire-retardant; inhaling it can cause cancer. So be sure to have your home checked for asbestos before beginning any sort of renovation. Carpenters and other skilled workers who deal with remodeling older homes should investigate proper safety precautions before working in buildings that contain asbestos.

• Tetrachloroethylene is a solvent used in dry cleaning. While wearing dry-cleaned clothes isn’t considered dangerous,
those who work in a dry cleaning business should change clothes after work, wash work clothes regularly, and keep their food out of the work area.

Risk 5: Consumer Products

Antiperspirants, talcum powder, hair dye, aspartame, and some cosmetics have all been reported as possible cancer causes, often incorrectly. The truth is that there is no conclusive evidence that any of these products cause cancer. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to monitor various studies and issues periodic updates.

In addition to steering clear of the above five potential cancer causers, be sure to stay away from two of the deadliest ones, smoking and sun exposure:

Smoking: Tobacco kills, and is one of the top causes of cancer. Smoking can damage almost every organ in your body and is a known cause of at least 15 different types of cancer. Remember that the risks for cancer aren’t limited to cigarettes – cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and the smokelesss tobacco called snuff are all linked to cancer. Secondhand smoke is, too.

Sun Overexposure: About one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States and most are sun related. Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, can be fatal – while Blacks don’t get this as often, we still tend to die from it in much higher numbers when we do get it. Remember – just because our skin tends to be darker doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be protected. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, embrace the shade, wear protective clothing and protect your eyes with sunglasses that have 99 percent UV absorption – even on cloudy days.

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Is A Health Disaster Ringing?

woman smiling at cell phone(BlackDoctor.org) – For years, people have unofficially voiced concern about the dangers of cell phone usage. However, recent health buzz says that mobile devices may cause cancer. While it’s true that the National Cancer Institute has ruled them safe, a growing number of independent researchers disagree.

Those experts point out that the FCC wireless regulations on cell phone safety are largely based on something called specific absorption rate (SAR) levels, or the rate at which our bodies absorb radiation. Most phones do comply with the federal standards, but SAR monitors only thermal effects. (In other words, if the radiation from your phone isn’t cooking your brain, it’s regarded as safe.) But mounting scientific evidence suggests that nonthermal radio frequency radiation (RF)—the invisible energy waves that connect cell phones to cell towers, and power numerous other everyday items—can damage our immune systems and alter our cellular makeup, even at intensities considered safe by the FCC.

“The problem is that RF can transfer energy waves into your body and disrupt its normal functioning,” explains Cindy Sage, an environmental consultant in Santa Barbara, California, who has studied radiation for 28 years. “Here’s why that’s crucial: Overwhelming evidence shows that RF can cause DNA damage, and DNA damage is a necessary precursor to cancer.”

The 2010 Interphone study, the largest to date on RF exposure from mobile phones, has spawned a quagmire of controversy, says health researcher and medical writer Kerry Crofton, Ph.D., who spent four years reviewing RF science for her book Wireless Radiation Rescue: Safeguarding Your Family from the Risks of Electro-Pollution. Many groups, including the National Cancer Institute and the telecom industry, read the results of that study as a green light for wireless calling. Others, like Crofton, point out that because it was largely based on lower cellphone usage in the ’90s, the research has little bearing on today’s world, in which 285 million Americans have mobile phones and 83 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are “wired” all the time and sleep with their cell phones next to their heads.

One thing the Interphone study did find? People who chatted via cell for just 30 minutes a day for 10 years saw their risk of glioma (the type of brain tumor that killed Ted Kennedy) rise 40 percent. As a result, many European countries are considering banning cell phones for children under age 6 (RF penetrates little kids’ brains more easily), and France has already banned all wireless technology in some schools and many public places, notes physician and epidemiologist Samuel Milham, M.D., a leader in the growing field of electromagnetic research.

All parties agree on this: More studies need to be done. In the meantime, it’s best to take easy precautions—and not just with mobile phones. “Never before in human history have we gone from one radiated environment to another,” says Crofton. “We’re going to wireless offices and living in wireless homes. Even beaches and parks are going wireless. We’re exposed everywhere.”

The good news is that you don’t need to ditch your gadgets. This advice will let you stay plugged in—and keep you healthy.

Cell Phones

When your phone is on (which it probably is even as you read this) it’s constantly sending and receiving RF signals to and from the nearest cell tower to keep you in service. The farther you are from a tower, the harder your phone has to work and the more RF it emits, explains David Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University at Albany. The activity really amps up when you’re, say, driving through rural areas. Plus, within the close confines of a car, your entire core is exposed to the radiation.

The safer solution: Keep your phone off when driving until you really need it, says Carpenter. And no matter where you are, avoid holding a cell phone directly to your noggin (the Interphone study showed gliomas were more prevalent on the side of the head people continuously pressed phones to), always keep it at least six inches or more from your body (in your purse, not your pocket), and use either speakerphone or a corded headset (not a wireless headset). Or text up a storm. If you have a smartphone that’s loaded with games, music, and movies, turn your wireless settings off while playing or rocking out. Similarly, don’t ever use your cell phone as a bedside alarm clock without first disabling the wireless mode.

Cordless Phones

These stealth wireless threats “have become so powerful, they’re often as strong as cell phones,” says Sage. “The phone base is like a mini cell tower. It radiates 24-7 and can have a range of up to 300 feet.” Particularly suspect are digital enhanced cordless telecommunication (DECT) phones. Preliminary blind studies have found that, when sitting beside a DECT phone base, some people experienced arrhythmia, a troubling heartbeat irregularity that could eventually lead to stroke or coronary disease, says Sage.

The safer solution: You might feel somewhat retro, but “just get a corded phone with an extra-long cord so you can still walk around,” says Crofton. “They’re better, they’re cheaper, and they work in a power outage. Every time you replace a DECT with a corded phone, you’re cutting the RF levels in your home significantly.”

Wireless Routers

Your neighborhood coffee shop’s wireless Internet access may often seem like a godsend, but the router that’s needed to provide the service is continuously emitting high levels of RF (up to 200 feet out), and that constant exposure has been linked to deadly diseases. “If the whole body is radiated by a router’s RF emissions, the greatest concern is cancer, especially leukemia,” says Carpenter. Also, be aware of your at-home router and any plug-in wireless USB cards you often use.

The safer solution: Ditch your wireless router and plug your computer directly into a cable modem, says Sage. That Ethernet technology doesn’t leak RF and is often faster and more secure. If you just can’t give up your wireless router (e.g., if you live in a home with a handful of computer users), make sure you sit as far away from it as possible, says Crofton, and turn it off at night and whenever you’re not online. Another easy fix: Plug your router into a surge protector with a timer, and set it to go off each night so you don’t have to remember to flip the switch.

Laptops

“When you hold your laptop on your lap, what you’re essentially doing is radiating your pelvis,” says Carpenter, “so all the cancers that affect that area are of concern.” Indeed, early studies point to a heightened risk of testicular cancer for men who keep RF-emitting devices close to their belts. For women, adds Carpenter, “the studies aren’t quite there yet, but I think we can say that anything that might cause cancer almost always causes birth defects, so pregnant women—or those wanting to become pregnant soon—should take extra precautions.”

The safer solution: Keep your laptop off your lap (if you have to rest it there, buffer it with a sturdy pillow that’s at least six inches thick). Try to use a desktop computer at home and treat your laptop as an on-the-go convenience. One thing to keep in mind: Laptops are a high RF radiation risk only while connected to wireless Internet, so when you’re watching a DVD, fiddling around with your photos, or writing that dissertation, just disable your connection and you’ll be much safer.

Baby Monitors

“Baby monitors release more RF than cell phones do, and putting them next to a crib is very, very unwise,” says Carpenter. He points to a recent University of Utah study that shows RF radiation can penetrate almost entirely through a child’s brain, which doesn’t form completely until nearly 20 years of age. “It’s very clear from all the existing research that the younger the child is, the more vulnerable he or she is to the effects of RF radiation.”

The safer solution: Consider not using a baby monitor. If you absolutely must use one, place it far from your baby’s crib—at least 10 to 15 feet away.