Bowel cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye lists the symptoms
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A string of breakthroughs in cancer research over the past decade has helped survival rates grow significantly. But preventing the disease remains an important focal point for scientists. The habits that fill our daily lives, including our phone usage, could impact our risk of cancer.
Cancer is a disease that occurs when DNA cells acquire the ability to multiply and go rogue.
The disease has many known causes, but many are overlooked in day to day life.
In a 2018 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers found exposure to high levels of outdoor blue light at night could increase the risk of prostate cancer twofold.
Blue light is believed the most damaging to human health due to its intensity.
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It has a shorter wavelength than other light in the visible spectrum, which means it emits more energy than other visible light.
According to Doctor Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online, a 2020 Spanish study provided further evidence of the detrimental effects of blue light on our health
She explained: “661 bowel cancer patients were compared to 1,322 controls. The authors calculated, using data on artificial at night exposure from satellite monitoring, that exposure to blue light increased the risk of bowel cancer by 60 percent.
“Blue light has been linked to an increased incidence of other cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer. Late shift workers are at an increased risk of breast cancer.”
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Previous research has shown blue light has a domino effect on several biological mechanisms in the body, such as melatonin production.
The restraint of melatonin directly impacts the sleep-wake cycle, also known as the body’s circadian rhythms.
What’s more, experts have long highlighted the importance of addressing circadian rhythms in studies on cancer.
“Blue light is known to prevent the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin does a lot more than just induce sleep,” explained Doctor Lee.
“It regulates the Circadian rhythms, which are vital to synchronise your body’s cellular processes.”
Circadian rhythm describes a set of internal systems that dictate physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.
Because this internal system is closely interlinked with the pathways involved in homeostasis and metabolism, disruptions to the clock can promote the onset and progression of cancer.
Doctor Lee added: “Melatonin has been shown to directly reduce the rate of cell division in bowel cancer cells and to facilitate clearance removal of malignant bowel cancer cells.
“It may be that increased blue light exposure – and mobile phones emit blue light – is indeed a risk factor for cancer, including bowel cancer.”
Avoiding phone usage late at night may, therefore, be necessary to maintain regularity in the body’s internal clocks.
“It makes sense to use your mobile phone less often and stay away from any blue light devices (desktops, laptops, iPad, TVs and others) in the evenings, to allow your melatonin levels to rise naturally before bedtime,” noted Doctor Lee.
“Mobile phones cause havoc overnight as they disrupt your sleeping patterns. Try and live in sync with your body clock. This is the way your body’s metabolism works the best.”
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