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Publicado el 09-21-2011

To avoid breast cancer, take that cell phone out of your bra

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Devra Davis, PhD MPH

For many young women today, tucking cell phones in the bra has become a cool, hip way to have simple access to these essential devices. They can jog, drive, shop or sit in darkened movie theatres, quickly responding to tingled vibrations at their breast. Most of us have no idea that cell phones are small two-way microwave radios that should not be kept directly on the body.

As the month of breast cancer awareness, October finds the media packed with warnings about the disease. What's missing from this welcome public attention is the fact that the ways some people are using their phones today could increase their risk of developing breast cancer and other diseases. Cell phone's microwave radiation seeps directly into soft fatty tissue of the breast. That's not a good thing.

Someone wise once said that there is no cure for stupidity, but ignorance can be cured with knowledge.

I sure hope that this is the case. It's too late for Donna Jayne, a young active mother of three from Southern California. For more than six years, this vegetarian, runner, drove her children everywhere with her cell phone tucked into her sports bra. She used her hands-free headset and was on the phone for four to five hours a day. Often, her chest or ear would redden, but she thought little of it. This spring she developed a malignant tumor right where her phone had sat on her breast. No one in her family has ever had breast cancer. Could all this be a coincidence? Of course. But her doctor and those of four other women under the age of forty with similar stories are deeply concerned that cell phones can cause cancer in women who store them at their breasts.

In San Francisco and Burlingame, California, manufacturers will soon be required to tell people before they buy phones that they emit microwave radiation and provide the estimated Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for each phone. As it stands now, warnings about keeping phones off the body can only be found after phones are purchased--in packaging that often gets tossed. The American Cancer Society and Federal Communications Commission websites advise that using a headset or speakerphone substantially reduces radiation exposure, as does holding a phone away from the body when it's connected to a signal.

Within the cell phone industry and government heated debates are ...
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