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ImageSmoking, obesity, and unhealthy diets are risk factors for cancer. However, there are other factors that can cause cancer as well. Here are five surprising things that many people are unaware can raise their risk of cancer:

Surprising Behavioral Risk Factors of Cancer

Too little sunlight: Too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is a well-known risk factor for deadly melanoma and other skin cancers. But sunlight also activates a chemical in the skin that produces vitamin D with potential proactive properties against some cancers.

Night shift work: Women who work a night shift at least three nights a month are at an increased risk of colorectal and breast cancer. Studies also indicate that men who work the night shift face a three times greater risk of prostate cancer than those who maintain more traditional work hours.

Risky sex: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of almost all cervical cancers and some cancers of the anus, vagina, vulva, penis, mouth, and throat. Hepatitis B and C infections can also cause liver cancer.

Birth control pills: Women using birth control pills have been found to have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. The risk seems to go back to normal over time once the pills are stopped.

Age: The main cancer risk factor is the one we rarely even think about — growing older. Cancer can occur at any age, but most cancers are diagnosed in people older than 65, when cells begin to deteriorate and the body’s natural protective mechanisms begin to fail.

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How to reduce the risk of cancer:

There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of developing cancer. These include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Follow a strict exercise regimen
  • Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Protecting your skin from strong sunlight
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests

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