COMMENTARY | A disturbing trend is becoming apparent in young women. Those who keep their cell phones in their bras seem to be at a higher risk for breast cancer than women who do not. KTVU spoke with breast surgeons who claim they are seeing a disturbing trend in a link between breast cancer and cell phones.
How big a risk
KTVU spoke with two women who kept cell phones in their bras for five years or more. Both women developed breast cancer in the same place the cell phone rested against their skin. I have breast cancer, but I never kept my cell phone in my bra; I don't know anyone who does.
Breast surgeons Dr. John West and Dr. Lisa Bailey, say that there is most likely a link and are warning people to be careful. Both claim there is an increase in male breast cancer from men who keep cell phones in their shirt pockets. The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees with them. If you are keeping your cell phone in your bra or shirt pocket, this is something to pay attention to.
Why just a breast cancer link
The wireless companies are denying any link between their products and an increase in cancer. They may have a point. Many people, men and women, keep cell phones in their pants pockets. No links to cancer in the hip bones or genital cancers are attributed to cell phones, so why breast tissue? Maybe breast tissue is more sensitive to changes than the tissue in our thighs and backsides.
Cause for concern
Judy Peres quotes Dr. John Samet, overall chair of the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer, (IARC) in her article "WHO Classification Sparks Debate Over Cell Phone Safety" as saying, "there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk." Dr. Samet is also the chair of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California.
WHO classifies cell phones as potentially carcinogenic. The IARC lists it as a class 2B. This means that the phones might cause cancer but there is no concrete evidence to show that this is true. More research is needed to make a hard fast link between the two.
Maybe it is just a coincidence, but what if they are right? Could keeping a cell phone in your bra give you breast cancer? As a breast cancer patient still going through treatment, I would not want to risk it. My cell phone is staying in my pocketbook -- right where I always keep it. My cell phone did not give me breast cancer, but there are other women who say their phones did.
Lynda Altman was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011. She writes a series for Yahoo! Shine called "My Battle With Breast Cancer."