Cell Phones, Cancer, and the Breast Pocket
I was having lunch with a few women last week who were all part of the Women’s Fitness Network in Phoenix. We were discussing types of workouts, specifically; hiking, boot camps, and yoga. One woman was talking about carrying her phone on hikes because she wanted to take pictures but she didn’t have any place convenient to keep it while she was actively hiking. Then the woman across from me said, “Well the breast pocket is the best pocket. I just keep my phone tucked in there during workouts.”
It occurred to me in this moment that although I thought the risks involved in storing your cell phone against your breast tissue was common knowledge, it turns out, many women are not aware of the dangers of doing this and have not yet been informed. Women are storing cell phones next to their breast tissue during workouts and 3 hour hikes without a second thought. What about the information on cellular damage due to electromagnetic frequencies? Was I just a weirdo keeping my cell phone at arms length?
“Yikes, I would be terrified to do that.” I said to the woman next to me and she replied, “Why?”
There were a couple of seconds that passed because I was waiting to see if anyone else had a response on this. When no one chimed in I replied, “EMF’s, cancer, cellular damage to breast tissue, breast cancer.”
“Oh, do you really think cell phones are dangerous?” she said.
And I replied, “Yes, have you ever gotten hot ear?”
“Oh yeah, lots of times. Then I put in my hands free device.”
This is not uncommon, just walk into any gym in any city in the US and girls will be using their phone as their iPod and will have it conveniently stuffed into their breast pocket.
Note from Dr. P:
The reality is that cell phones have only been used in the last 15-20 years, and we do not have enough human data to determine if they are or are not safe. So I keep mine at a distance with the hands free device and try really hard not to carry it on my body, and certainly NOT in my breast pocket.
Below is the summary of the cell phone discussion from the American Cancer Society Web site:
In summary, most studies published so far have not found a link between cell phone use and the development of tumors. However, these studies have had some important limitations that make them unlikely to end the controversy about whether cell phone use affects cancer risk.
First, studies have not yet been able to follow people for very long periods of time. When tumors form after a known cancer-causing exposure, it usually takes decades for them to develop. Because cell phones have been in widespread use for less than 20 years in most countries, it is not possible to rule out future health effects that have not yet appeared.
Second, cell phone usage has been and is constantly changing. People are using cell phones much more than they were even 10 years ago, and the phones themselves are very different from what was used in the past. This makes it hard to know if the results of studies looking at cell phone use in years past would still apply today.
Third, the studies published so far have focused on adults, rather than children. Cell phone use is now widespread even among young children. It is possible that if there are health effects, they might be more pronounced in children because their nervous systems are still developing and their lifetime exposure will be greater than adults, who started at a later age.
Finally, the measurement of cell phone use in most studies has been crude. Most have been case-control studies, which have relied on people’s memories about their past cell phone use. In these types of studies, it can be hard to interpret any possible link between cancer and an exposure. People with cancer are often looking for a possible reason for it, so they may sometimes (even subconsciously) recall their phone usage differently than people without cancer.
With these limitations in mind, it is important that the possible risk of cell phone exposure continue to be researched using strong study methods, especially with regard to use by children and longer-term use.
You can read the entire article here:http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/AtHome/cellular-phones