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Tumors and Technology

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technology tucked in bras for a night out may cause tumors Rui Dias-Aidos/PhotoSpin

A seemingly harmless tuck of the cell phone in your bra so it doesn't get lost during a night on the town has become a cause for concern as a possible risk factor for breast cancer.

Many young women have ditched their purses for the convenience of the JoeyBra, Forbes' writer Kelly Clay reported. The bra, with pockets on both sides, allows women to stash iPhones, IDs, debit cards and a key. Its material prevents phone damage by wicking away body moisture.

The new iPhone manual, however, says to keep the phone less than half an inch away from any body part, reported CBS Philly. Some doctors say the heat of the battery or the radio frequency (RF) radiation from cell phones may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Breast cancer risk is higher among women who have close ties with the disease. About 5 - 10 percent of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary. Yet, over 85 percent of women who get breast cancer don't have a family history.

The two main types of studies used to determine whether something causes cancer are lab and human studies.

Lab studies usually expose animals to RF energy to detect the cause of tumors, says Cancer.org. Lab studies allow researchers to carefully control factors that might affect the results.

Human study looks at cancer rates in different groups of people. Studies in people are hard to interpret with other factors that may affect the results and are difficult to account for, says Cancer.org.

As noted above, the RF waves given off by cell phones don't have enough energy to damage DNA directly or to heat body tissues. Many scientists believe that cell phones aren't able to cause cancer.

Breast Surgeon Lisa Bailey told CBS Philly, “There’s no evidence, but that’s because we haven’t studied it.”

Some scientists have reported that cell phones' RF waves may help tumors grow, says Cancer.org. Also, several studies in rats and mice have looked at whether RF energy might simply promote the development of tumors, but no evidence was found based on the studies.

Lifestyle-related risk factors that increase the risk of breast cancer include: alcohol, recent birth control use, having children after age 30 and being overweight or obese after menopause.

Even when a woman with risk factors develops breast cancer, it is hard to know how much each factor contributed, says Cancer.org.

Researchers are certainly looking into the effects of having technology close to your body. So, maybe next time you're looking for a place to hide your cell phone, look further than your bra.


Cellular Phones
Cancer.org. Retrieved November 20, 2012.

Don't Know Where To Put Your iPhone? There's A Bra For That
Forbes.com. Retrieved November 20, 2012.

Breast Cancer
Cancer.org. Retrieved November 20, 2012.

Health: Cell Phone Warning For a Certain Group of Women.
CBS Philly. Retrieved November 19, 2012.

Reviewed November 21, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

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November 28, 2012 - 11:58am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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