11th February 2014
By Vidya Frazier
Guest writer for Wake Up World
According to an increasing pool of research, exposure to EMF radiation may be a contributor to rising rates of breast cancer. Scientists studying a number of possible environmental causes for the disease found that perhaps the most significant factor is the extensive amount of electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices, cell towers, and WiFi in our environment today.
Breast Cancer Epidemic
The statistics on breast cancer are alarming. The American Cancer Society states that 1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 36; death rates are higher than any other type of cancer for women, except for lung cancer. A number of men also continue to develop breast cancer.
Breast Cancer and Melatonin
So what is the connection between EMF radiation and breast cancer? It’s somewhat complicated. It’s necessary first to understand the role that melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, plays in the body.
Perhaps melatonin’s most commonly-known function is regulating circadian rhythms in the body which govern the waking/sleep cycle. But melatonin is also a powerful scavenger of free radicals, helping to facilitate proper DNA synthesis and cell division—thereby helping to prevent cancer.
The surprising function of melatonin that scientists are now focusing on is how it interacts with breast cancer cells. They are finding that a low level of melatonin in the body stimulates the growth of certain breast cancer cells, whereas a high level inhibits their growth.
Women with breast cancer have as little as 1/10 the amount of melatonin in their bodies that healthy women have. (See studies by Soule 1973, Lippman 1977, Wilson 1992, Cos 1998, and Black 2005.)
Breast cancer has been shown to be 60% more common among such groups as nurses, night shift workers and long-haul airline attendants. These are people who don’t sleep regularly at night, and so their pineal gland has a hard time producing enough melatonin for healthy functioning. For this reason, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has officially stated that night shift work is a probable “human carcinogen”. (See Boston Nurses Study 1997, Scandinavian Airlines Study 2010, and Hansen 2001).
EMF Radiation Inhibits the Production of Melatonin
The information about the lack of melatonin as a cause of breast cancer has actually been around for a while. What scientists are now focusing on is the question of what causes the lack of melatonin in the body. A number of factors appear to affect the production of this hormone, including light, sleep patterns, drugs, alcohol, exercise, caffeine, and other hormones (in particular, estrogen).
But it’s the role of EMF radiation that’s currently drawing interest, as it’s clear that the production of melatonin in the body is diminished with EMF exposure. Studies have shown that breast cancer cells actually proliferate when exposed to EMFs.
How does this happen? EMF radiation disrupts cell-signaling systems which determine how the cells respond to their environment. When manmade EMFs enter the body, cells respond to them as they would to an “enemy” threatening them: they harden their outer walls.
This in turn holds all toxins, including free radicals, inside the cells—and also prevents nutrients from entering. If the assault from EMF exposure is continuous, cells eventually die. This makes the tissue or organ susceptible to the proliferation of malignant cancer cells.
Certain sources of EMF radiation seem to have a very direct correlation to breast cancer. Cell phone radiation, in particular, has drawn special interest, particularly if the cell phone is carried close to a woman’s breasts.
However, even low levels of EMF exposure caused by electricity and appliances, have been shown to restrict the production of melatonin in the body. For example, if someone sleeps next to a digital clock or cordless phone, enough continuous EMF radiation is emitted to seriously suppress melatonin production.
How to Protect Yourself from EMF Radiation
If you’re someone already suffering from breast cancer, it’s clear you should steer clear of EMF exposure as much as possible and consider getting EMF protection products for any wireless devices you have and for the electricity in your home. EMFs may well be inhibiting your recovery.
If you’re simply concerned about possible future effects of EMF exposure on your health (especially if you have a job that keeps you awake at night or breast cancer is in your family), follow these same precautionary steps. You might also consider taking melatonin as a supplement and strengthening your immune system with antioxidant nutrients, such as green tea, selenium and Vitamins A, C and E.
- Schoenfeld ER, O’Leary ES, Henderson K, et al. Electromagnetic fields and breast cancer on Long Island: A case-control study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 158: 47–58.
- London SJ, Pagoda JM, Hwang KL et al. Residential magnetic field exposure and breast cancer risk: A nested case-control study from a multi-ethnic cohort in Los Angeles, California. American Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 158: 969–980.
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- Kabat GC, O’Leary ES, Schoenfeld ER, et al. Electric blanket use and breast cancer on Long Island. Epidemiology 2003; 14(5): 514–520.
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- Zhu K, Hunter S, Payne-Wilks K, et al. Use of electric bedding devices and risk of breast cancer in African-American women. American Journal of Epidemiology 2003; 158: 798–806.
- Tynes T, Haldorsen T. Residential and occupational exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields and hematological cancers in Norway. Cancer Causes & Control 2003; 14: 715–720.
- Labreche F, Goldberg MS, Valois M-F, et al. Occupational exposures to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and postmenopausal breast cancer. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2003; 44: 643–652.
Previous article by Vidya:
About the author:
Vidya Frazier, psychotherapist and writer, has done extensive research on the effects of environmental influences on health. As someone with the condition known as Electromagnetic Sensitivity, she has especially focused on the health effects of electromagnetic pollution and has found that using EMF protection products is extremely effective.