16
Feb
2007

The radiation from mobile phones and masts cannot cause cancer?

Last Tuesday, Dr Harry Comber, director of the Irish National Cancer Register made these very dangerous statements: the radiation from mobile phones and masts can not cause cancer because the radiation they emit is non-ionizing and thus has no affect on DNA. ("Separating Fact From Fiction" [by] Michelle McDonagh, Health Supplement, THE IRISH TIMES, Tuesday, February 13, 2007).

As Dr Comber holds a position of absolute authority in Ireland on cancer and its causes now that considerable percentage of the Irish public who read THE IRISH TIMES' believe radiative emissions from cellphones and masts are harmless. Of course Dr Comber's remarks should be challenged and corrected and if possible published in the same newspaper which gave his views such a generous airing.

You have posted a considerable number of published papers whose results directly contradict Dr Comber's opinion on non-ionizing radiation having no affect on DNA http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=non-ionizing+radiation+DNA

And you have also archived abundant evidence that mobile phone masts can cause cancer http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=evidence+mobile+phone+masts+cancer

I have also pasted in towards end the interview with the radiation expert, Professor Dr. Eckel.

Should anyone wish to write a response to Dr Harry Comber's statements here are relevant email addresses:

THE BEST IS: healthsupplement@irish-times.ie
(need to mark the subject as "reader response")

ALSO CC IT TO: mhouston@irish-times.ie
(Dr. Muiris Houston is editor of the HEALTH SUPPLEMENT which is published on Tuesdays.)

GOOD ALSO TO SEND IT TO: lettersed@irish-times.ie

AND CC TO: info@ncri.ie
(can't locate Dr Harry Comber's email address)


Best, Imelda, Cork



THE IRISH TIMES, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2007

HEALTH SUPPLEMENT

"Separating fact from fiction"

Michelle McDonagh

The number of new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in Europe rose by 300,000 in 2004-2006, according to new estimates published last week. There are also several myths surrounding the disease. Michelle McDonagh separates the facts from the fiction.

Cancer is on the increase and infecting more young people than ever before. People living near mobile phone masts and landfill sites are at greatest risk of the disease and, despite 50 years of research, the outlook for cancer patients is no better than it was in the 1960s.

All of the above statements are complete myths, although most people outside the medical profession will be surprised to hear this. There is so much conflicting information surrounding the Big C - which one in three of us will develop in our lifetime - that people don't know what to believe.

The director of the Irish National Cancer Registry, Dr Harry Comber, is one man who can separate the facts around cancer from the fables. He points out that the cause of cancer is damage to DNA that takes place over a long period and a number of different factors are involved, so it is not possible to say that there is a cause for cancer in the same way as a virus causes influenza or a bacterium causes TB.

As a result, when studying cancer, scientists must look to populations to examine whether there is a link between exposure to different things and getting cancer.

"One of the persistent beliefs about cancer is that diet is very important, but although a lot of work has gone into looking at the components of foods to see what might cause cancer, there are no certain answers," he says.

"It's quite obvious that people who eat diets rich in fruit and vegetables have a lower incidence of cancer but we are not certain if this is because they are eating fruit and veg or not eating other things," says Comber.

Being overweight is a major cancer risk factor and this risk increases considerably if you are obese. This, Comber points out, shows that it's not so much what you eat that's important, but how much you eat.

Although some cancers have already been cured to a certain extent, such as testicular cancer and leukaemia in children, Comber does not think there is such a thing as a generic cure for cancer as the disease has so many different forms.

"I think we will see incremental improvements in surgery and radiotherapy.

For the majority of patients, surgery is curative but there's no magic bullet for cancer. There are a lot of targeted treatments for specific cancers but nothing for the major cancers.

"I think it's a matter of holding cancers in check with treatment until the person dies of something else. Cancer will become a chronic rather than a terminal disease, a bit like HIV," he says.

The way forward, in Comber's opinion, is through more detailed knowledge about the risk factors associated with cancer, more effective intervention for the risk factors already understood such as smoking, diet and exercise, and more investment in treatment facilities.

"While there has been a lot of promising work done in areas like immunotherapy and stem cell research, nobody has yet found a cure for cancer," he says.

"However, I think there are lots of small things we can do to make a patient's life more tolerable and we shouldn't lose sight of the individual in the midst of the high tech. For example, a lot of work has been done on making patient waiting areas more pleasant, providing overnight beds for relatives and providing patient transport instead of ambulances.

"It's these kind of things that can make a huge difference to the patient and their family."

Cancer Myths:

Fable 1: Mobile phone masts and mobile phones cause cancer.

As the radiation from mobile phones and masts is not ionising radiation, it has no affect on DNA and there is no evidence that they cause cancer. The level of emission from a mobile phone mast is actually thousands of times lower than from a mobile phone and, ironically, the more masts there are, the less radiation your mobile phone emits as your signal will be stronger.

Fable 2: Cancer is on the increase, especially in young people.

It is clear from the National Cancer Registry data that the incidence of cancer in Ireland is not on the increase and the risk of dying from the disease has fallen in the past 10 years. While the number of cancer cases and deaths has risen due to an ageing population, the risk of getting cancer and dying is actually falling. Cancer is a very age-dependant disease and the risks of developing it double every eight years from the teens onwards. As you age, the people around you who are also ageing are twice as likely to die from cancer which gives rise to the misperception that there is a huge rise.

Fable 3: The war against cancer is not getting anywhere.

Cancer survival rates are increasing by about two per cent a year. While there have been no major breakthroughs in terms of a cure, there have been improvements in surgery, anaesthesia, medical support for patients, drug treatments and radiotherapy. There has also been an overall improvement in the general fitness of the population and life expectancy is increasing so people are better able to withstand treatment than they did 20 years ago.

Fable 4: Screening for cancer will solve all our problems.

There seems to be confusion between earlier detection of cancer and screening programmes. While it's very valuable for the individual cancers picked up, screening has a very small impact on the overall population. There is no doubt that cervical screening works but as this form of cancer accounts for only
70-80 deaths a year, it does not have a big impact.

Breast screening also works but it targets only a portion of the population and in those it reduces breast cancer by 25 per cent. Prostate screening probably does not work at all in terms of reducing mortality, says Comber.

© 2007 The Irish Times



Feb 2007 Interview with the Radiologist Professor Dr. Eckel from the Bundesärztekammer

13-01-2007

The interview given below was published by the `Schwäbischen Post’ on 7.12.06.

In Hüttlingen, a community near to Ellwangen, the residents are, just as in other places, fighting against a planned mobile telecommunications transmitter.

MOBILTELECOMMUNICATIONS / Interview with the Radiologist Professor Dr. Eckel from the Bundesärztekammer (equivalent to the BMA in the UK)

The cell nucleus is mutating

Professor Dr. Heyo Eckel is a radiation expert. He is a radiologist, lecturer at Göttingen University, vice chairman of the Health and Environment Committee of the German Medical Association [Ausschusses Gesundheit und Umwelt der Bundesärztekammer], Chairman of the Niedersachsen province charity for "Chernobyl Children". And because he also still has family connections in Hüttlingen, we spoke with him about electromagnetic radiation.

BY MARKUS LEHMANN HÜTTLINGEN/GÖTTINGEN

For Radiologists there are two areas: the scientific-formal-legal and the emotional.

His scientific conclusion: Electromagnetic, pulsed waves from transmitter masts and mobile phones affect and deform the cell nucleus. Comparable with those of X-rays. As long as the harmlessness of mobile telecommunications is not proven*, everything must be done to protect the population against potential health damage.

Are electromagnetic waves dangerous for humans?

These waves deform and damage the cell nucleus. That is proven and has resulted in experiments "in vitro" (in laboratory studies)**. The cell nucleus can also mutate as a result of natural occurrences. However, one has no control over that. But changes due to the influence from electromagnetic waves are definitely documented.

And this technology is deployed across the country?

According to the present state of scientific knowledge there is no alarming health risk***. Out of the many thousand of reports, there are only 400 to 500, which comply with purely scientific protocol and thus must be taken seriously. But one must consider: The mobile telecommunications technology is still relatively new, but yet it is now deployed across the whole country. Consequential damage is hard to ascertain, not yet and maybe only after years. Like in bygone days with X-Ray radiation.

You are also involved in the Chernobyl problem.....

Yes. And the injuries that result from radioactive radiation are identical with the effects of electromagnetic radiation. The damages are so similar that they are hard to differentiate.

So you are saying, that there is a potential or suspected danger. What is your suggestion?

One must act politically. The politicians refer constantly to safe limits. There must be an agreement with the industry on a minimum distance from base stations, as in Switzerland. Above all there must be further research on how these electromagnetic waves effect humans. This radiation does not taste, it does not smell. And one does not hear it. It is not discernable through our senses. And, that’s why people are afraid of it.

What do you advise citizens who have fears about a transmitter in their vicinity?

Legally, one cannot do much. One can advise, that people unite together. In order to exert pressure - moral - pressure on the local politicians, the provincial and federal government politicians. Because they have a duty of care to avert presumed or perceived damage to citizens.


With kind regards

Sarah Dacre, MSc
ACIB London, UK


Informant: Martin Weatherall

--------

Regards,
Dorothee


Letter to the Irish Times Health Supplement

Today's (27.Feb. 2007) Irish Times Health Supplement has a letter to the editor about Dr. Harry Comber's statements on page:.

Re: Health Supplement, February 13th

Dear Sir, I am horrified at the statements made by Dr Harry Comber, director of the National Cancer Register in the February 13th edition of the Health Supplement. I suggest Dr Comber should educate himself on the emerging scientific evidence on the effects on non-ionising radiation. I suggest especially that he should read the EU Reflex Report (2002) which found that cells, exposed to electro-magnetic radiation, showed a significant increase in DNA damage which could not always be repaired by the cell. This damage was also seen in future generations of cells. This effect seemed to be more pronounced in older subjects. There was also evidence of damage to chromosomes, alterations in gene activity and an increased rate of cell division. The World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has also classified electro-magnetic radiation as a possible cause of cancer (Monograph 80). The American Journal of Industrial Medicine also carried an interesting article on the subject last year.

Dr Gillian Mulholland
by e-mail

--------

Study finds a 39% increase in brain tumours from mobile phones http://omega.twoday.net/stories/3261211/

Pollutants cause huge rise in brain diseases http://omega.twoday.net/stories/3261899/

Cell phone transmitters pose no danger? http://omega.twoday.net/stories/3249688/

Report on the RFR Wireless Cities Summit http://freepage.twoday.net/stories/3263804/

Utrecht Symposium on ES December 2006 http://freepage.twoday.net/stories/3260472/



* http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=cell+nucleus
** http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=in+vitro
*** http://tinyurl.com/93epp http://omega.twoday.net/search?q=Are+electromagnetic+waves+dangerous+for+humans
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