5 Everyday Things Malaysians Do That Increase Their Risk of Cancer


Did you know that 1 out of 4 Malaysians develop cancer by the age of 75? Scary weh! What’s even scarier is how exposed we are to carcinogenic sources in our daily lives, most of which we don’t even know about!

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seemingly ordinary things Malaysians do that increase our risk of cancer that we should avoid at all costs!



1. Being exposed to third-hand smoke

No, that’s not a typo. Everyone knows about second-hand smoke, but what exactly is third-hand smoke? According to a research conducted by Dana–Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, third-hand smoke is:

  • The remnants or contamination of the surfaces of objects that remain after second-hand smoke has cleared out.
  • In other words, when somebody smokes indoors, residual nicotine and other chemicals are left behind even after smoke dissipates.
  • People are exposed to these chemicals by touching or breathing in these contaminated surfaces.

The chemicals released in third-hand smoke react with indoor pollutants to create a toxic hazard to those exposed to them, especially young children!

These are the potential effects of regular exposure to third-hand smoke:

  • Lung, bladder, cervix, kidney, mouth, pancreas and throat cancer.
  • Asthma, ear infections and pneumonia in children.
  • One study even suggested that it’s the biggest risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) among infants!

So please, just stop smoking already! You’re harming those around you too ��


2. Inhaling petroleum and diesel fumes

Petroleum and diesel engine fumes have been classified as carcinogenic to humans by WHO and are equivalent to second-hand cigarette smoke!

When fuel burns inside an engine, it releases microscopic soot particles and chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs.

These two things are dangerous because:

  • Soot particles can get lodged deep inside the lungs, which can cause long-term inflammation and increase the rate at which cells divide.
  • Inhaling PAHs can directly damage the DNA in the cells of our lungs too.

Both of which will ultimately lead to cancer!


3. Eating grilled meat and fish

According to America’s National Cancer Institute, cooking beef, fish or poultry at high temperatures can form hazardous chemicals called heterocyclic amines and PAHs that are linked to cancer.

In 1999, a study published in a journal by the National Cancer Institute found that grilled red meat was associated with an increased risk of Colorectal cancer.

Another study, published in the journal Carcinogenesis found that cooking red meat at high temperatures increases the risk of advanced prostate cancer by almost 40 per cent!


4. Eating processed meat

A fan of nuggets, hot dogs, burgers and other processed meats? Well, you better tone down on them because according to WHO, consuming processed meat increases the risk of cancer.

This is due to how the meat has been treated in some way to preserve or flavour it such as by salting, curing, fermenting and smoking.

In fact, consuming just one hot dog increases your relative risk for Colorectal cancer by 18 per cent! Warn all your processed meat-loving friends! 


5. Working the night shift

No one likes to work the night shift, but did you know that it poses serious health hazards? More so if you’re a woman!

According to Medical News Today, researchers have discovered that women who engaged in long-term night shifts are 20 per cent more likely to develop cancer! The increased risk for specific types of cancer is even more staggering:

  • 58 per cent greater risk of breast cancer.
  • 35 per cent higher risk of gastrointestinal cancer.
  • 28 per cent more risk of lung cancer.
A previous research has linked working the night shift to obesity and heart disease due to how it severely disrupts our circadian rhythm or the internal clock that regulates the body’s physiological process. So, it’s best to avoid working night shifts if you have the choice!
These things are only the tip of the iceberg! Unfortunately, there are numerous factors that contribute to the increased risk of cancer.
A few things we can do to lower the unwanted rise of cancer risk in Malaysia:
  • Maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
  • Focus on making nutritious choices and eating in moderation.
  • Exercising regularly, which helps maintain a healthy weight while strengthening the body’s immunity.

In regards to how prepared Malaysians are when it comes to cancer diagnosis, the answer was rather grim as most still do not understand the severity of an ailment such as cancer. Eric Wong, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer of Prudential commented on how heartbreaking it is to learn of a family member or friend fighting cancer. 

“As an insurer, we are deeply concerned that many cancer patients drop out of treatment due to reasons such as financial difficulties, lack of accessibility to treatment, as well as work or family responsibilities.”

He further reiterated how financially stressful it can be to cover the cost of cancer treatment, to the point where some would even deplete their entire life savings.

“Research on cancer and financial catastrophe revealed that 50% of Malaysians encounter financial catastrophe within the first year of being diagnosed with cancer.”

That’s why Prudential introduced PRUcancer X, a solution that covers the high treatment expenses and potential income loss if one has to stop work to focus on recovery.


The key features of PRUcancer X include:

  • High coverage of cancer and benefits up to RM2 million: High coverage options up to RM2 million to help individuals get the best care both in Malaysia and abroad, as well as meet their financial commitments in the recovery period. 
  • Affordable premium: Provide individuals with peace of mind with premiums as low as RM34 monthly.
  • Early-stage cancer coverage: Provides a portion of the coverage amount upon the diagnosis of specific types of cancer including Carcinoma in-situ.
  • Compassionate benefit: In the event of death, the plan will provide a fixed benefit to assist the family of the deceased with funeral expenses.
  • Easy enrolment: Five underwriting questions that are specific to cancer risks only.

With high coverage of up to RM2 million, cancer patients will have the opportunity to seek the best care in Malaysia as well as abroad. Prudential stresses that their main objective is to bridge the gap for cancer protection, which is severely lacking in our country.

Find out more about PRUcancer X here.


Source: https://www.worldofbuzz.com/5-everyday-things-malaysians-do-that-increase-their-risk-of-cancer/

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