'Don't throw your cell phones away' - Expert cautions against alarm as study links rat cancer to phone radiation

A New Zealand cancer expert says while a study concluding that mobile phone radiation can cause heart cancer in male rats is interesting, it's not cause for alarm in humans.

The US federal peer-reviewed study concluded in March that exposure to low frequency radio waves, like those which are emitted by mobile phones, can cause cancer in the animals, which is the first clear evidence of a biological link between the radiation and cancer.

Dr Chris Jackson, Medical Director of Cancer Society NZ, this morning told TVNZ 1's Breakfast that while the study is interesting and has some implications on cell phone usage, it is not yet reasonable for people to be alarmed.

"What this study has done for the first time is shown there's a biological mechanism for how cellphones might potentially have some impact on cancer ... up until now there's not been a clear biological explanation for how that might be the case," Dr Jackson said.

"It's shown that prolonged exposure to low levels of radiation may actually potentially lead to cancers.

"This effect has been seen in rats, not in mice, and as yet it hasn't been proven in humans - so I think we're a long way away from saying that cell phones cause cancer in humans.

"There's certainly conflicting evidence in humans - this is only an animal study ... so it's clearly not a conclusive finding at all but it's the first potential biological explanation."

Dr Jackson said the increasing use of cell phones, especially over the past ten years, is a good reason to continue to look into this, but that people should avoid jumping to conclusions until more research is done.

"I think we do see this concern every time there's a new technology around ... same with microwaves, same with television," he said.

"I think it's reasonable for people to be cautious about this and that's why it's important that research is done - and done well."

Dr Jackson said the long lead-in time between exposure to radiation and the development of cancer was a difficult issue for researchers, but that studies are ongoing.

"There are a number of worldwide efforts looking at the rates of certain types of brain cancer in high cell phone usage areas to see if there is indeed a link in humans, but that may be a number of years away," he said.

"In the meantime, if people are concerned about their risk of cancer from cellphone use, there's a number of things people can do - you can use an earpiece or you can use hands free, or you can perhaps spend a little bit less time on your phone.

"So no, dont throw your cellphones away just yet, but it's important to watch this space."

Cancer society's Medical Director Dr Chris Jackson says the study was only on rats, but does have some interesting implications. Source: Breakfast



World first blood test to detect melanoma developed by Australian scientists

Australian scientists have developed the world's first blood test to detect melanoma in its early stages.

Early trials of the test involving 209 people showed it was capable of picking up early stage melanoma in 81.5 per cent of cases.

The next step for the scientists from Edith Cowan University is to carry out clinical trials to validate their findings, with the hope the test could be available in about three years.

Melanoma sufferers are bringing a petition to Parliament for this drug to be funded.
Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Top Waikato police officer reiterates 'absolutely no risk' to public following string of gang connected homicides

A top Waikato police officer has assured the general public there is no risk to their safety after three gang-related homicides in the last month, adding they are being treated as "coincidental".

Superintendent Bruce Bird spoke to TVNZ 1's Breakfast today, urging people in Waikato to "go about your business as you would".

"At this stage here we've got three homicides that we're treating individually, we see them remarkable as just a coincidence that they've occurred in this short time frame," Superintendent Bird said.

"We're looking at it from that perspective there, we don't see any escalation in gang violence through the Waikato, and we can assure everyone in the Waikato, just go about your business, we'll do our job in investigating these crimes and we will hold those people responsible to account."

Police in Waikato are in the midst of three homicide investigations, all of which are believed to be gang linked.

Over 60 staff are working on the cases, and other specialists have been called in from around New Zealand.

On Saturday July 8, 23-year-old Robert Nelson was shot dead at his girlfriend's house. She was injured and another young man badly hurt.

The body of Ngāruawāhia man Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found in the water at McLaren Falls near Tauranga on Friday.

Three people have been arrested in connection to Paterson's death.

A 27-year-old man, has been charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.

A 49-year-old man has been charged with presenting a firearm at police and unlawful possession of a firearm. And a 33-year-old man has been charged with breach of release conditions.

Late last month Huntly man Wayne Noda was found dead at his home on June 30, and police believe his injuries were inflicted during an assault.

"These are complex investigations that take time however we are confident that they will be resolved and those responsible will be held to account," Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said in a statement. 

"Across the investigations there are a number of people assisting Police and there are also persons of interest. Investigations to date indicate that these people have significant links with criminal gangs."

"As with all investigations we are keeping an open mind on whether the homicides are linked, however inquiries to date lead us to believe the three deaths were targeted individual acts within the gang community," said Superintendent Bird.

Superintendent Bruce Bird says at this stage police are treating the three murders since June 30 as separate investigations. Source: Breakfast