Thursday, October 16, 2008
Is there a link between cell phone usage and brain cancer? By Anthony Policastro, M.D

A few years ago, there was a study that suggested that cell phones cause brain tumors. Subsequent studies did not support that finding. More recent studies suggest that it may indeed be true. One of the problems when dealing with cancer causing agents is the long time period between the event and the start of the cancer. For example, it takes many pack years of cigarettes to produce lung cancer. The new cervical cancer immunization is given early in life. It needs to be given that early to prevent a cancer years later. It took many years for us to find a relationship between asbestos and cancer. At this point, the issue of what relationship there is between cell phones and cancer is still somewhat vague. However, there are a number of things in the studies that are disturbing. One has to do with the fact that telephones do not give radio wave energy. Cell phones do. It is not clear what that energy can do. There are two types of cancer that seem to be higher in cell phone users. The first is what is called a glioma. That is one of the more common types of brain tumors. Therefore, trying to link that to cell phones is hard. What researchers seem to be finding is that the frequency of glioma has always been relatively steady in the population. The frequency seems to be higher than expected in cell phone users. The second type of cancer is called acoustic neuroma. This is a growth on the nerve that goes to the ear. It is not that common. Therefore, its appearance in higher numbers is disturbing. What is the most concerning thing about these cancers is that they appear on the side of the head where the person most often uses the cell phone. Other factors that were observed were related to the length of use and age of individual. Those people who were heavy cell phone users for more than 10 years were more likely to develop tumors. Those individuals who were under age 20 were also at greater risk. The lessons in this should be obvious. The first is that cell phone use should be limited in the first place. The second is that using a hands free or speaker type phone causes less risk. The third is that children under age 20 should avoid cell phone use when possible. The younger the child, the stronger the warning should be. There is really no reason for someone who is not yet of driving age to be carrying around a cell phone. Under that age, you should have a pretty good idea of where your children are without the need for a cell phone. That is harder once they begin driving. Once we have more information on this, we can relax the standards. However, for now, the danger seems like a real possibility and we should respect that danger.

Breathing support group held A support group for those suffering with breathing problems will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Medical Staff Conference Room. If you or loved ones suffer from breathing difficulties, attend this support group and learn how to breathe, get tips on exercises and share experiences in a group setting. To access the Medical Staff Conference Room, attendees should use the Cardiac Rehab/Wound Care entrance, located in the rear of the hospital. For more information, call Angie Howard, RRT at 302-629-6611, ext. 3815.

Look-In Glass Shoppe holds sale Shop early for the holidays at the Look-In Glass Gift Shoppe's "In Design" sale featuring the latest in fashion jewelry and handbags on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 17 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. All jewelry items are $6 each and other select items range from $12 to $48. Proceeds from The Look-In Glass Gift Shoppe benefit Nanticoke Health Services.

Nanticoke offers flu shots Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Occupational Health will offer flu shots to the public at Nanticoke Mears Health Campus (across from Seaford Post Office) on the following dates: Wednesday, Oct. 29 and Wednesday, Nov. 5 - 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; 4 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 and Friday, Nov. 7 - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6 - 4 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $20. Medicare billing is available with proof of Medicare insurance. Pre-registration is required. The vaccine is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18; it is recommended for elderly and high-risk individuals. To schedule an appointment, call Nanticoke Occupational Health at 629-6611, ext. 8682.

Women's Expo planned The Women's Wellness Expo, "Powerful Women: Shaping Our Lives, as We Shape Ourselves," is Friday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dover Downs Hotel. The cost is $30 which pays for lunch, screenings, speakers, educational sessions and handout materials. For more information or to register, call the Expo at 302-744-4700.

Annual Redden Ride/Walk planned The 6th Annual Fall Redden Ride/Walk will be held on Sunday, Oct. 19 at Redden State Forrest Park in Georgetown. Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 26. This event benefits Southern Delaware Therapeutic & Recreational Horseback Riding, a non-profit organization that provides equine-assisted therapy to people with disabilities in Sussex County. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and lunch is provided by Jimmy's Grille. There will be raffles, trivia games and a Finders Keepers Trail. The registration fee is $30 for riders ages 14 and up, $20 for riders ages 13 and under and $20 for walkers. Lunch is included. For more information, call 302-644-1920 or visit If you are unable to participate but would like to make a donation, you may do so online or through the mail at SDTRHR, P.O. BOX 219, Nassau, DE 19969.

Program to help manage disease The Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP), developed at Stanford University, has proven effective at enabling people to take more control of their own health. CHEER will begin this program at the Greenwood Activity Center. The program consists of six, two and a half hour workshops. The first class begins Monday, Nov. 3 at 1:30 p.m. and runs through Dec. 8. This class is free but registration is required. For more information and to register, call Cindy Mitchell at 302-856-5187.

A Pink Ribbon Tea On Oct. 17, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the community is invited to join Nanticoke's Cancer Care Center, the Delaware Breast Coalition, and The Wellness Community for "A Pink Ribbon Tea - From Surviving to Thriving" event. Our panel of experts will answer your nutrition, exercise and health questions. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited. During the month of October, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Campus and Mears Health Campus will be "turning pink." Several activities will be planned to provide cancer awareness. For more information and to register, call 302-645-9150.