Do Cell Phones Cause Breast Cancer?Oct 24th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Community News, Health
By Lynette Norris Greene Publishing, Inc. A few years ago, there was a concern that cell phones were causing brain cancer among avid cell phone users who spent hours with their phones parked next to their ears. A handful of people developed brain tumors right above their ears, where their cell phones would have been pressed against their skulls. A similar scenario has evolved concerning breast cancer in a few very young patients, teenagers or early twenty-somethings, with no family history or genetic predisposition to the disease that anyone knows of. That in itself is unusual, but the young women all share something else in common as well: a habit, popular among teenaged girls and young women, of carrying their cell phones tucked into their bras. This habit has become so widespread that some clothing companies are offering sports bras with a handy pocket added just for this purpose. One such young woman is Tiffany Frantz of Pennsylvania, who, as a teenager, carried her cell phone around in her bra for years, pressed against bare skin. At age 21, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the exact spot where her phone had rested for so many years, and as a result, underwent a mastectomy. Out in California, breast cancer surgeon Dr. John West feels that something is going on, that there is some kind of connection between so many women keeping cell phones in their bras and the young female patients developing breast cancer, but there just isn’t enough research and data on the subject to make the dots connect for certain. In a story in the Washington Times, he states, “I can’t say for certain that they (cell phones) are causing cancer, but I can absolutely say with passion, that until we get more information, stop, stop, stop (carrying cell phones in bras)!” Young teenaged breast tissue that is still developing is particularly vulnerable to the mutative changes that can be caused by radiation, but the question is, is the radiation from cell phones significant enough to have such an effect? West’s colleague, breast cancer surgeon Dr. Lisa Bailey, also expresses concerns with women carrying cells phones directly against their bodies, especially in the area of the breast, adding that men who carry cell phones in their shirt pockets may be at risk as well. The problem with saying that there is a definite risk or connection, is that cell phone technology hasn’t been around long enough for the kinds of exhaustive, years-long studies with appropriate follow-ups like the ones that have been done for decades on the connection between tobacco and lung cancer, for example. That appears to be the sticking point for doctors who feel something might be going on – there’s just no hard, scientific evidence collected over years and years, as with other cancer studies. Most cancers take a long time to develop, from the first mutated cell to the tumor that finally manifests itself, and studies that look for causative factors have to take a lot of variables into account. Tons of minutiae about daily, hourly, and weekly cell phone use is only one of those variables that would need to be collected and recorded and correlated. Information about microwave radiation emissions from various cell phone models need to be measured and considered. Specific absorption rates of human tissue, from hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of patients, will need to be measured and considered. Other genetic factors that could influence cancer development will have to be accounted for. So far, the few studies that have been done, have not been specific enough with the data collected – often, for example, the questions asked about cell phone use were far too vague and general. Or the studies themselves were poorly designed, or were simply added onto other studies. Mostly, though there just hasn’t been enough time to collect and study enough data, since cell phone technology is still relatively new. That lack of data is a frustration for some doctors who see breast cancer in teenagers and 21-year-olds, with no family history of such cancer. Put together with the new trend of teenagers carrying around cell phones in their bras, a troubling coincidence seems to emerge, but with no scientific proof, a caveat that the cell phone industry points to as well when denying any link between cell phones and breast cancer, there is only an unusual set of circumstances and anecdotal information. No smoking gun emerges. Still, however, until there is enough information to either support or disprove the theory, many breast cancer doctors believe that a few precautionary steps couldn’t hurt. Most of them involve changing simple habits and carrying the cell phone away from the body – in a purse, for example – and using headsets or the speaker-phone option when in use, i.e., when it is receiving a microwave signal from the cell phone tower. Even the operator’s manual for most cell phone models advise keeping the phone at least 5/8 of a inch away from any body part. If the phones must be carried in a pocket, turn them off. Tiffany Frantz, having undergone breast reconstruction and chemotherapy, is spreading the word among women to make the bra a “no-phone zone.” The jury is still out on any possible link between cell phones and cancer, and it will probably be out for several more years, but there doesn’t seem to be any need to discard cell phones altogether. Taking a few precautionary steps is simple enough to do, and until more is known about the subject, why take a chance?