Claim: A woman contracted breast cancer from carrying a cell phone in her bra.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, May 2013]
Can you get breast cancer by keeping your cell phone in your bra? There is a video of a news footage on a woman who thinks she
got breast cancer from keeping her cell phone in her bra.
Origins: The video linked above is a news report from York, Pennsylvania, television station WGAL about Tiffany Franz, a Strasburg resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 21 years old.
Tiffany eventually underwent a mastectomy to remove her left breast, and given her youth, her lack of genetic predispositions or risk
factors for breast cancer, and the location of her tumors (roughly the area in which her cell phone was placed in contact with her breast), Tiffany and her family (and some doctors) have suggested that her carrying a cell phone in her bra, where it was pressed against the bare skin of her chest for six years, was the cause of her developing breast cancer at such an early age.
However, although some women who typically tote cell phones in their bras have developed breast cancer, there is as yet no hard evidence proving or disproving the notion that the connection between the two is anything more than coincidence. Some doctors recommend that women not carry cell phones in brassieres, and cell phone manuals usually advise users to carry their phones some minimum distance (a half-inch or so) away from their bodies and avoid direct contact with the skin, but those are "better safe than sorry" precautionary measures and not warnings based on empirical evidence demonstrating a connection between cell phones and cancer:
Is there a link between breast cancer and cell phones? Some doctors say they're seeing evidence of breast cancer that could be connected to where some women keep their mobile phone — in their bras.
Breast surgeon Lisa Bailey said phone-related breast cancer may be common. Saying it may be the heat of the battery of the radio frequency of the radiation that makes keeping a phone directly on the skin risky.
"These young breasts in the early evolution are more sensitive to changes that might lead to cancer," Bailey said.
Other breast cancer specialist are now speaking out as well. Dr. John West says men who keep their phones in their shirt pockets are also at risk.
The wireless industry, meanwhile, denies any problem, citing a lack of scientific evidence that cellphones cause breast cancer.
Those concerned doctors though say it's because not enough studies have been completed.
"There’s no evidence, but that's because we haven't studied it," Bailey said.
"Until further data either supports it or disproves it, I would keep cell phones away from the body, in particular the breasts," adds Dr. June Chen, a Breast Cancer Radiologist.
In the meantime, experts convinced of the link say better safe than sorry.
"It's as simple as that and it might save a life it might avoid a mastectomy, chemotherapy, it’s easy enough to do, why take a chance?" West said. "If there is a risk and we don't find out about it for five or ten years from now, we're going to see a whole cluster of young people with breast cancer."
Last updated: 29 May 2013
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