Cancer is, unfortunately, spreading in the modern society. Nearly all cancer forms are increasing when it comes to incidence, i.e. new cases/year (cf. Hallberg & Johansson 2002a).
It could recently be read in the BBC News that skin cancer is rising in young adults, and Sara Hiom, head of the health information at Cancer Research UK said, when interviewed, that “Non-melanoma cancers are rising at an alarming rate”.
Non-melanoma cancers are rising at an alarming rate
More and more research efforts goes into understanding the molecular mechanisms behind these various progressive cancer forms, and much more money is spent on finding new drugs to treat patients. However, oddly enough, very little is spent on understanding the actual causes for cancer.
Among such possible causative agents, more and more focus is nowadays put on modern gadgets, such as mobile telephones and computers, and their chemical and physical emissions, including flame retardants and electromagnetic non-ionising radiation.
Childhood leukemia was early connected to power-frequent magnetic fields already in the pioneering work by Wertheimer and Leeper (1979), and more recently Scandinavian scientists have identified an increased risk for acoustic neuroma (i.e., a benign tumor of the eighth cranial nerve) in cell phone users, as well as a slightly increased risk of malignant brain tumors such as astrocytoma and meningioma on the same side of the brain as the cell phone was habitually held (Hardell et al. 1999, 2004, 2005; Lonn et al. 2004).
In addition, a clear association between adult cancers and FM radio broadcasting radiation has been noticed, both in time and location (Hallberg & Johansson 2002b, 2004, 2005a). Initial studies on facial nevi indicates that nowadays also young children can have a substantial amount of these.
If it can be shown that radiofrequent radiation is not correlated with child cancers the current focus on low-frequency electromagnetic fields can continue. If there is also a radiofrequent and/or microwave correlation then this must be considered in future research as well as in today’s preventive work.
Most recently, Dr. Djemal Beniashvili and other scientists at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel, have demonstrated a possible link between exposure to power-frequent electromagnetic fields and breast cancer in elderly women (Beniashvili et al. 2005).
They compared the breast cancer rates in elderly women from an earlier period (1978-1990) to a more recent period (1991-2003), which has been characterized by a much more extensive use of personal computers (more than 3 hours a day), mobile telephones, TV sets, and other household electrical appliances. They used available medical records extending over a period of 26 years, involving the analysis of more than 200,000 samples.
Most recently a possible link has been demonstrated between exposure to power-frequent electromagnetic fields and breast cancer in elderly women
Among the elderly women who developed breast cancer in the first time frame, 20 percent were regularly exposed to power-frequent fields.
But in the more modern period 51 percent were so exposed, mainly through the use of personal computers. The authors concluded: “There was a statistically significant influence of electromagnetic fields on the formation of all observed epithelial mammary tumours in the second group.”
This represented a more than two-fold increase, which was considered highly significant (cf. Beniashvili et al. 2005).
Of course, many other environmental factors have changed during the period 1978-1990, but increased environmental exposure to power-frequent fields is among the more conspicuous changes to have taken place. Naturally, there are many aspects of this question that remain to be clarified, and, from a scientific point of view, it is far from conclusively settled.