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4 things you may not know have been linked to cancer

You're in your 40s now, and you're starting to think about cancer. You're not worried, per se, but you have a family and you own your business, so there's a lot at stake.

You also know many of the common cancer causes and you do what you can to avoid them. You smoke the occasional cigar, but generally never smoke. You put on sunscreen when you go out for a run or sit by the pool. These are good first steps, but it's also important to know about often overlooked links to cancer. Below are four things you may not know connect to this deadly disease.

1. Not getting enough sleep.

You're not putting yourself at risk because of one late night, but you could increase the risk if that becomes habitual. For instance, those who get under six hours of sleep every night have a higher risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer. If you can, get enough sleep on a consistent basis.

2. Nitrates.

Nitrates are often found in processed meats, like bacon or hot dogs. They're chemical additives. When you cook the meat and then eat it, they turn into nitrites. This is a carcinogen. That doesn't mean you'll get cancer after one BLT, but eating these meats all the time increases the risk.

3. Weight.

If you're obese, you're technically at higher risk not only to get cancer, but to have it turn fatal. For instance, one study found that women who had already been through menopause and then developed breast cancer were more likely to pass away if they were overweight. Staying healthy overall can help stave off cancer and make it more likely that you'll pull through.

4. Genetics.

There's nothing you can do to change your genetics. While researchers do say that the risk from genetics is low, claiming only around 5 percent of cancers relate back to your genes, the risk is still there. That's one of the reasons that doctors want to know about your family health history when you come into the office. It can help them know what to expect.

Of course, there are many things that link to cancer without actually causing it. For example, age is a large contributing factor. You're wise to start thinking about it as you grow older. Roughly three quarters of all cancers -- 77 percent, technically -- show up in those who are at least 55 years old. While age doesn't cause it, it simply makes it more likely and increases exposure to cancer-causing substances.

It's critically important is to get excellent medical care. Cancer is one of the worst diseases to have when there is a delayed diagnosis, because of the way that it spreads. It could turn from a local, treatable issue into a fatal disease during the delay. If you are diagnosed and you think that negligent doctors caused your condition to be worse than it had to be, you may have a right to compensation.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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