New Prostate Study Links Cancer to Artificial Light

As much as medical science knows today about the body and ways to keep it healthy, doctors can’t always explain why cancer affects one person and not another. With prostate cancer being one of the most common, though slow growing, cancers in American men – lots of work is being done in various prostate study groups in the hopes of sparing the one in six men who will be diagnosed with this type of cancer during his life.

We know some of the risks already.

– Diet (eating lots of animal fats and dairy)
– Your age (the biggest risk factor) as well as your
– Genetic makeup (a family history of this type of cancer) may all be factors.

Recent work by American and Israeli researchers points the figure at a more unexpected culprit – a man’s exposure to artificial light.

The work was intended to investigate the influence of a number of things, artificial light at night being just one, on the incidence of three types of cancer: prostate, lung, and large intestine in the world’s male populations.

The team looked at how common prostate cancer is in men from 164 different countries, and also studied data on lighting used at night.

The cancer data came from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Information on the levels of artificial lighting was taken from satellite images and researchers used advanced statistics to get a number for the amount of artificial light used per night per person.

Countries with low nighttime lighting (little exposure to light at night) had prostate cancer incidence of 66.77 per 100,000 men.

Men in countries with a medium exposure of artificial light at night had a rate of 87.11 per 100,000.

The rates of prostate cancer in the countries with the most artificial light at night jumped 80% to 157 per 100,000 men.

The team from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Haifa point to any number of theories that could explain the connection.

Suppression of melatonin production, suppression of the immune system and disruption of the body clock are all possible culprits to the link between high exposure to this type of light and prostate cancer.

Earlier work by the same team found a connection between the amount of artificial light and breast cancer.  紐西蘭留學 

It’s important to remember that cancer prevention comes from recognizing risk factors that we can change from those we can’t.

Genetics and age can’t be changed, but what you put into your body surely can be – eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising and managing stress are all important.

Something else to think about before you go running to turn out the lights.

Countries in northern climates, certainly some of those used in the study, have to use more artificial light (and more electricity) because there’s less natural sunlight. There are also more cancer causing agents in industrialized countries.

And while it’s important to appreciate the dedicated and careful work of the researchers here, it’s also important to understand that artificial light is not solely responsible for the rise in prostate cancer all on its own.

There are likely many factors at play here within the prostate study arena, some of which we are only just beginning to understand.

However, if you do want to reduce your exposure to artificial light consider removing light sources from the bedroom like LED clocks and night lights and think about adding a thick lining to your curtains to block out street lights and darken the room.



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