Fast Five Quiz: Modifiable Cancer Risk Factors

George D. Harris, MD, MS


July 26, 2019

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified processed meat as a carcinogen. This includes ham, bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and some deli meats. "Processed" refers to meat that has been treated to preserve or flavor it. This includes curing, salting, fermenting, and smoking. Eating this meat has been associated with the development of colorectal cancer.

No studies to date have demonstrated a clear association between fluoridated water and increased cancer risk. Antioxidants (eg, beta carotene, selenium, vitamins C and E) are known to have some protective effects against cell damage. Higher levels of vitamin D in the blood or higher intakes of vitamin D may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer; however, results of randomized studies have been inconclusive. Dietary patterns that include regular consumption of fish have been associated with the reduced risk of some cancers. 

Alcohol consumption has also increasingly been recognized as a cancer risk. In fact, even modest use of alcohol may be associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.

Read more on colorectal cancer.


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