Cell phones and colorectal cancer: it’s not a topic you hear about in the news. That’s because, until now, no attention has been given to a possible link.
And yet colorectal cancer rates are soaring among young people. We’re talking here about a generation who have grown up with smartphones in their pants pockets. Are the two things related? The health of future generations is in the balance, and researchers are starting to pay attention.
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The Problem With Pockets
What happens when you keep your cell phone in your pocket? For one thing, your body is regularly absorbing electromagnetic radiation (unless your phone is on airplane mode or you’re using quality EMF protection).
That much is undisputed.
But what does that radiation do to your body?
There’s more than one valid answer to that question. Hurting your fertility, for example, is one.
But there are other potential consequences. And it seems that colorectal cancer might now be on the list.
Rising Rates Of Colorectal Cancer
Professor De-Kun Li, a senior epidemiologist and research scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, has proposed that cell phones might be to blame for soaring rates of colorectal cancer.
What do we mean by soaring rates?
Colorectal cancer (an umbrella term for any cancers of the bowel, colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States for men and women combined.
But here’s the interesting thing: on the whole, the death rate from colorectal cancer has declined, a lot. In 2016 there were less than half the deaths that there were in 1970. This is great news, and we have better treatments and increased screening to thank.
And yet, at the same time, colorectal cancer rates in young people are increasing. Here’s the American Cancer Society:
“Although the overall death rate has continued to drop, deaths from colorectal cancer among people younger than age 55 have increased 1% per year from 2007 and 2016.”
Overall proportion of diagnosis in young people is rising as well. According to a report from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:
- Between 1989 and 2013, the proportion of rectal cancer diagnosed in adults younger than 55 doubled (from 14.6% to 29.2%).
- Those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer than those born around 1950.
It’s not just the US: colorectal cancer rates have risen in young people in other developed countries as well.
What is it about the lifestyles of younger people that makes them more susceptible to cancers like colon cancer and bowel cancer?
The Link Between Cell Phones And Colorectal Cancer
“Doctors aren’t certain what causes most colon cancers,” says the Mayo Clinic. It begins, they say, when healthy cells develop DNA mutations.
As a veteran researcher into the effects of EMF on human health, Dr. De-Kun Li has put forward a theory on what’s causing those mutations: radiation from cell phones.
“When placed in trouser pockets, the phones are in the vicinity of the rectum and the distal colon and these are the sites of the largest increases in cancer,” he told Microwave News.
Other risk factors like obesity, low-fibre diet and sedentary lifestyle aren’t a logical fit. “If anything,” said Li, “younger generations are more health conscious with better diets.”
One thing you may be wondering is exactly how much radiation is absorbed by the body when your phone is in your pocket. Especially given that the phone isn’t directly in use and should automatically go into standby mode.
This is difficult to answer because, in truth, cell phones are not adequately tested for safety in different conditions. Mobile phone safety standards are usually based on radiation absorption tested when the phone is held at least 10mm away from the body — a fact that was called out in a TED talk as the “dirty secret” of the telecommunications industry.
When held in contact with the body, it was revealed, most phones fail to pass safety standards.
So while emissions are generally reduced in standby mode, as noted by Microwave News, there are other factors that are ignored by tests — like that smartphone apps now have slews of locations services pinging away in the background, or that your phone emits more radiation when you’re moving because it needs to search for new cell towers to connect to.
The latter factor is particularly pertinent if you consider that we’re moving toward 5G networks. 5G cell towers are spaced extremely close together, meaning your phone will have to update its position with alarming frequency. Thus we’re likely to see a huge increase in radiation exposure from cell phones, even when they’re in pockets and on stand-by mode.
If Li’s hypothesis turns out to be correct, this does not bode well for the already-rising rates of colorectal cancer.
What You Can Do About It
Dr. De-Kun Li has been right before. His groundbreaking research on magnetic fields and miscarriage has been backed up by at least seven other studies.
But even if the link between cell phones and colorectal cancer turns out not to be valid, it hardly seems worth the risk to avoid precautionary measures.
One thing you can do? Avoid carrying your cell phone directly next to your body. Turn it off or put it in airplane mode if you’re carrying it in your pocket.
Another thing you can do is to block radiation using an EMF shield. This allows you to keep your phone on and connected while minimizing your radiation exposure at the same time. The SYB Pocket Patch and SYB Pocket Card can be carried directly in your pocket as a way to deflect radiation away from your body.
For the guys, a pair of SYB Boxer Briefs is the ultimate way to protect yourself from electromagnetic radiation and cut down your risk of both cancers andfertility issues.
While we wait for more research into cell phones and colorectal cancer, your best bet is always to play it safe and do what you can to protect yourself.