No Convincing Evidence that Cell Phones Cause Cancer

A new report by the U.K. Health Protection Agency’s independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) has concluded that there is no convincing evidence that mobile phone technologies cause adverse effects on human health. The report updates AGNIR’s previous review in 2003 that considers the scientific evidence on exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields, which are produced by mobile phone technologies and other wireless devices, such as Wi-Fi, as well as television and radio transmitters.

Cell phone radiation

UV Photography Shows that Melanoma Risk Factors Correlate with Sun Damage

There are a number of physical characteristics associated with increased risk of skin cancer, and more specifically, with melanoma, a particularly dangerous and aggressive form of skin cancer. These include blue eyes, red hair, freckles on the face, a significant number of moles on the body, and light skin. While these factors have long been used by dermatologists to predict those individuals who would be at greatest risk of melanoma, a new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology uses a novel approach to demonstrate that there’s a relationship between these factors and visible signs of sun damage [1]. Researchers used ultraviolet (UV) photography to compare the skin of 12-year-old participants; under UV light, sun damaged areas appear darkened. UV photographic equipment is similar in many regards to the tools employed in regular photography, though the flash is UV rather than visible light, and much of the processing software is different.

UV skin damage
A 35-year-old melanoma survivor. Skin under normal (left) and UV light (right). Dark areas on the right is damage from the sun.

Those pre-teens with multiple melanoma risk factors had increased sun damage compared to those with fewer risk factors. This finding is particularly distressing given that the signs of sun damage in those with multiple risk factors were significant, even relatively early in life.

The researchers suggest that UV photography could be incorporated into sun awareness intervention programs, as seeing a photograph of existing sun damage can be more persuasive to teens and young adults than vague warnings about the dangers of sun exposure. Further, note the researchers, the results of the study suggest that UV photography is most likely to be an effective intervention technique for those individuals who have multiple melanoma risk factors, as they are most likely to show significant sun damage early in life.

Reference

  1. Gamble et al. Sun damage in ultraviolet photographs correlates with phenotypic melanoma risk factors in 12-year-old children. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]
    View abstract

Gold Nanostars Target Drug Directly to the Cancer Cell Nucleus

Nanotechnology, which offers powerful new possibilities for targeted cancer therapies, has been generating a lot of excitement in the cancer research community. Northwestern University scientists recently developed specialized nanoparticle that can deliver a drug directly to a cancer cell’s nucleus — an important feature for effective treatment [1].

Gold nanostars

Amid Debate, First Proton Therapy Center Opens in New Jersey

All too often, the most brutal part of a bout with cancer is radiation therapy. X rays are electromagnetic waves that travel with a constant amount of energy, so although they effectively kill cancer cells, they pass through the skin and healthy tissues on their way to and from the tumor. In doing so, they damage the normal cells in their path. Protons, on the other hand, are particles that have a mass and a charge (they are positive). They can thus be targeted with exquisite specificity only to the tumor site, emitting the bulk of their radiation there and there only and sparing patients the terrible side effects that can accompany therapy with X rays.

ProCure gantry room

Circumcision Linked to Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

A new study published in the journal Cancer found that circumcision may help protect against prostate cancer [1]. The research suggests that circumcision can hinder infection and inflammation that may lead to prostate carcinogenesis.

Micrograph of prostate cancer