Scientists reveal top cancer health risks

Lazing on a sunbed with a beer, a burger and a cigarette is a toxic cancer risk, according to new medical research.

The World Health Organisation has warned that processed meats are among the leading causes of cancer – along with sunbeds, alcohol and smoking.

If you want to clean up your lifestyle and cut the risk of suffering from cancer, a WHO funded body, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has put together a handy list of 116 carcinogenic substances.

Red meat and cancer

Many of the cancer causes relate to working for long periods in industries heavily reliant on processing coal, coal tar and similar substances.

The IARC agrees with the WHO that processed meat may cause cancer, but meat is not on the list.

WHO says new studies are about to start investigating whether processed and red meats should be excluded from healthy diets.

Instead, the IARC has highlighted three group of cancer causing substances which they call exposures, mixtures and agents.

Top cancer risks

The top cancer risks are:

  • Smoking tobacco and inhaling secondhand smoke – smoking tobacco as cigarettes, cigars or pipes, including hookahs damages the lungs
  • Sunlamps and sunbeds – over exposes the skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation
  • Aluminium processing – Fumes from reducing bauxite to aluminium can lead to cancer
  • Arsenic – A chemical that is harnessed by many manufacturing processes that can leach into water supplies
  • Auramine exposure – a chemical used in dye making which is carcinogenic if inhaled
  • Making or repair shoes and boots – Inhaling leather dust or solvents can lead to cancer
  • Chimney sweeping – Inhaling soot consisting of coal and wood fumes and residues can trigger an industry specific cancer
  • Burning coal to make gas – coal gas inhalation cause lung cancer
  • Distilling coal tar – Used in paint, roofing and road making in various forms as a tar or pitch. Harmful agents can be absorbed through skin.
  • Burning coke – Refining coke on an industrial scale leads to dangerous fumes
  • Carpentry – Furniture and cabinet makers can suffer from nasal cancer due to breathing in wood dust
  • Heamatite mining – Exposes workers to radon, an invisible and hard to detect radioactive cancer trigger
  • Iron and steel manufacture – Studies have shown foundry workers suffer more cancers than average worldwide