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Cancer | Causes, Resources, Cell phone radiation
  • Just one glass of wine or other alcoholic drink a day significantly raises the risk of breast cancer.  "There is no level of alcohol use that is completely safe in terms of breast cancer," said Anne McTiernan, a cancer-prevention researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and one of the report's lead authors.  (Source:  "Just one alcoholic drink a day increases risk of breast cancer, study says," by Laurie McGinley, Washington Post, May 23, 2017) 

  • The nation’s #1 cancer killer is lung cancer, and cigarette smoking is its leading, preventable cause.  In addition, a growing percentage of women developing lung cancer have never smoked.  The sooner people stop smoking, the sooner you will start improving your health and reducing your risk.  
  • Tanning lights can increase your risk of the cancer melanoma.  Even one session at a tanning parlor causes the same skin damage which dermatologists see in early skin cancer.  The indoor tanning rays are 10-15 times stronger than sunlight, making for a faster tan and a greater risk of skin cancer. 

    Teens and 20-somethings who use indoor tanning beds increase their risk of melanoma by 75%.  Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, a disease that strikes nearly 77,000 Americans each year, taking nearly 9,500 lives.  As of this date, 33 states have laws restricting minors from using indoor tanning facilities.  (American Cancer Society, April 2013) 
  • Cell Phone radiation can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.  A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."  They found some evidence of increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma brain cancer for mobile phone users.    
The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven—essentially cooking the brain," Black said.  "So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones."  

"Children's skulls and scalps are thinner, so the radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. Their cells are at a dividing faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger." said Black of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

A study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, revealed radiation emitted after just 50 minutes on a mobile phone increases the activity in brain cells. The effects of brain activity being artificially stimulated are still unknown.

The further the phone is from the body, the less radiation is absorbed. Users can hold their call phone 1” away from their head, or use the speakerphone function, or a wired earpiece to gain some distance, or simply text instead of talking.  Finally, cell phones emit the most radiation when they are attempting to connect to cellular towers. A moving phone, or a phone in an area with a weak signal, has to work harder, giving off more radiation. So users can avoid using their cell phones in elevators, buildings, and rural areas if they want to reduce their exposure, experts say.  http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/index.html  (CNN)
  • Alcohol increases the risk of many cancers, including breast cancer.  Women who drink just 3 alcoholic beverages a week face a higher chance for developing breast cancer compared with nondrinkers.  A compelling study followed more than 100,000 nurses almost 30 years showing an association between alcohol and breast cancer.  The researchers took into account other cancer risk factors, including age of menstruation and menopause, family history, weight and smoking—and still found evidence of a link with alcohol.  It made no difference whether the women drank liquor, beer or wine.  Increased risks were also seen in binge drinkers—women who consumed at least 3 drinks daily in a typical month.  The study does not prove that drinking causes the disease—but validates a link.    (Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Wendy Chen, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, November 2011)

  • Among adults in 2012, Spokane County's cancer rate was 552 per 100,000, similar to that of Washington state (562 per 100,000), but significantly higher than the national rate (454 per 100,000). The likelihood of developing cancer increased as age increased and was more likely among females and whites.  (Spokane Counts 2015, page 10, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • In 2013, 71% of adults 50 years of age or older reported having had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.  The proportion of colorectal screenings increased as age, education, and income increased.  (2015 Spokane Counts, Spokane Regional Health District)
What You Can Do
  • Take dinner to a family with a member undergoing chemotherapy.  
  • Become a formal cancer volunteer.  Cancer survivors are some of the most effective volunteers.  Contact cancer treatment centers and cancer wellness clinics. 

  • Free rides to cancer patients who don't have rides to treatment, are offered in some cities through the organization ChemoCars, created by Zach Bolster. Zach says, "Cancer can be scary and feel uncontrollable. We want to take this one piece of the process, transportation, and make it simple so they can focus on what matters most, getting better." 

    Many patients, often older and lower-income, miss treatments, because they have no reliable ride.  ChemoCars coordinates with Uber and Lyft, and donors pay for the rides.  (ChemoCars service gives free rides, and a fighting chance, to cancer patients," CBS News, January 24, 2018) 
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

3131 N. Division St.
Spokane, WA   99201
(509) 324-8612
Mon-Fri 10 am-5:30 pm; Sat. 10 am-4 pm

Cancer Care Northwest Foundation
1204 N. Vercler
Spokane Valley, WA  99216
Offers financial support for basic necessities such as transportation, prescriptions, groceries and rent; Counseling for children and families through Kidz Count Support Group; Community resource referrals. 

Faye's House
7594 Hwy 291
Ford, WA
Gives breast cancer patients a place to go and rest while they are in active treatment. 

Ostomy Support Group
A support group for those with a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy. Meets first Tuesday of the month, 6:30-8 p.m., Providence Sacred Heart Hospital, 101 W. Eighth Ave., Mother Joseph Room. Call (509) 255-6676 or email weller.susie@gmail.com.

The Essential Woman Boutique
507 S. Sherman Street
Spokane, WA  99202
Hours:  Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday by appointment
A special place for women with cancer.  A large selection of wigs and wig accessories, hats and scarves.  Mastectomy wear, mastectomy swimwear, and skin-care products.