Do you often carry a smartphone in your front or back pocket, or know someone who does? You’re about to find out why this may not be a good idea.
The National Cancer Institute announced last week that colorectal is now the most common type of cancer among American men between the ages of 20 and 49, and no one’s quite sure why.
However, epidemiologist De-Kun Li, a senior researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, believes he has the answer. The photo accompanying this article gives a clue.
Sexy – but is it safe?
Between 2000 and 2013, colorectal cancer rates for over-50s dropped by an impressive 32%. But for younger Americans, rates have increased. Those born around 1990, for example, are now four times more likely to develop rectal cancer and twice as likely to develop colon cancer.
Other countries are reporting rising levels too. A study of 144 million people aged 20-49 years in 20 European countries found that on average the rate of colorectal cancer in 20 to 29-year-olds rose by 7.9% per year from 2004 to 2016.
De-Kun Li believes smartphones may be to blame. ‘When placed in trouser pockets, the phones are in the vicinity of the rectum and the distal colon and these are the sites of the largest increases in cancer,’ he says.
What can you do?
It’s better not to keep a phone close to your body at all. But if you decide to do so, at least keep it in airplane mode instead of on standby when it’s in your front or back pocket. This is even more important when you are in a moving vehicle or walking about in an urban area because your phone will poll for updates every few minutes as you enter each new base station area.
Yes, it’s inconvenient. But your health is worth it!
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