We live in a world where electronics and electromagnetic fields are literally part of life – all day, every day. From computers to cell phones to Bluetooth devices to wireless devices to microwaves — things with electromagnetic fields surround us 24-7.
And the debate about whether electromagnetic fields are cancer-causing continues – with no definitive answer.
As this debate goes unanswered, we’re also seeing cancer rates increase in people under age 50.
According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, Oncology, researchers found that the rate of what they call early-onset cancer, which is cancer diagnosed between the ages of 14 and 49, increased 79.1% over a 30-year-period.
Researchers looked at data from 204 countries between 1990 and 2019. In 1990, they said there were 1.82 million early-onset cancer cases. By 2019, there were 3.26 million.
And early-onset cancer deaths increased from 800,000 in 1990 to more than a million in 2019.
“Early-onset breast, tracheal, bronchus and lung, stomach and colorectal cancers showed the highest mortality,” the study concluded. “Globally, the incidence rate of early-onset nasopharyngeal and prostate cancer showed the fastest increasing trend, whereas early-onset liver cancer showed the sharpest decrease.”
But this study – and many others – do not point to electromagnetic fields as a cause for the increase in cancer cases.
The reason for the increase in early-onset cancer according to the BMJ study: “Dietary risk factors, alcohol use and tobacco consumption were the main risk factors for top early-onset cancers in 2019.”
Yet many still worry about the connection between electromagnetic fields and cancer.
The Electromagnetic Spectrum
For background: Electric and magnetic fields are invisible energy forces (or radiation) that together are called electromagnetic fields (EMF). They’re produced by electricity – the movement of electrons through a wire. Electric fields are produced regardless of whether a device is powered on or off. The magnetic field is only produced if the device is on.
According to the National Cancer Institute, there are two categories of electromagnetic fields: ionizing higher frequency fields like x-rays and gamma rays, which can damage DNA, and non-ionizing lower frequency fields from things like radio waves or microwaves, which are not known to damage DNA.
Computers and power lines are on the lower end, whereas mobile phones and microwaves are higher. Diagnostic radiation is higher yet, which is why doctors try to limit exposure whenever possible.
However, in the case of radiation for cancer, the benefits outweigh the risks.
“Both radiation and chemotherapy can lead to secondary cancers but it’s very rare,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, medical director of the CyberKnife Center of Miami and board-certified radiation oncologist. “In my more than 30 years of practicing radiation oncology, I’ve never seen a secondary cancer occur from radiation therapy treatments, nor have any members of my highly experienced team.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, few studies have reported an association of increased risk between cancer and lower-frequency EMFs – like powerlines and WIFI.
Cell Phones and Brain Cancer
There’s still concern about cell phones causing brain cancer because cell phones emit radiation, and they are everywhere, according to the National Cancer Institute. The radiation cell phones emit is low frequency and low energy, and investigators say the incidence of brain cancer and other cancers involving the central nervous system hasn’t changed as cell phone use has increased.
Yet there has been some statistical association between brain tumor risks and cell usage. Though the studies showed statistical evidence, there was no real-world association shown.
Inaccurate reporting, changing technology, exposure limitations, mortality among brain cancer study participants, follow-up issues, and what’s called recall bias, where a study participant may remember using a phone differently, are a few of the reasons for the inconsistencies.
More research is underway to study the topic.
In terms of radiation for cancer treatment, the benefit of treatment far outweighs the risk. And if you’re going to need radiation treatment for cancer, and at least 50 percent of cases do, choose a state-of-the-art facility using the latest technology like CyberKnife Miami.
“The radiation we use to treat patients is highly targeted, focusing only on the tumor, which results in minimal side effects,” says Dr. Pomper in a YouTube interview on CyberKnife Miami’s YouTube channel.
CyberKnife can be used on prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas, head & neck, lymph node, and kidney tumors.
“Accurate and precise delivery helps minimize irradiation to vital organs and healthy tissue surrounding tumors, it also greatly reduces the potential risk of side effects, which leads to a better quality of life for patients both during and after treatment,” Accuray, the maker of CyberKnife, states.
CyberKnife therapy has been used to treat hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide, and right here in Miami. In fact, at CyberKnife Miami, we often see patients who were turned away from other centers because they were too afraid to take them on. We are not. Our team has the experience needed to tackle the toughest cases and we are not afraid to do that, because patients have nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially precious time.
If you would like to find out if we can help you or a loved one, call us at 305-279-2900 for a consultation, and go to our website now for more information on how CyberKnife technology works and what we treat. www.cyberknifemiami.com.