For some people, the presence of your smartphone or computer is an essential part of work, personal life, or even just recreation. Many people have waxed on about our overreliance on these products for years now, but there may even be a larger issue here worth being concerned about. A recent study suggests that there may be a correlation between the blue light emanating from these devices and prostate and breast cancers.
The study in question was conducted by an international team headed by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). In order to get their results, the researchers pored over data of over 4,000 people between 20 and 85 years of age in 11 Spanish regions, some with and some without prostate and breast cancer. In order to appraise the effects of blue light, they also assessed the participants’ indoor exposure to artificial light using questionnaires and used nocturnal images from the International Space Station to compare and evaluate outdoor levels of artificial light across Madrid and Barcelona.
The results showed that those who were exposed to higher levels of blue light had a one and a half fold and a twofold higher risk of developing breast and prostate cancer. Study coordinator Manolis Kogevinas added, “”WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified night shift work as probably carcinogenic to humans. There is evidence pointing to an association between exposure to artificial light at night, disruption of the circadian rhythm, and breast and prostate cancers. With this study, we sought to determine whether night exposure to light in cities can affect the development of these two types of cancer.”
“Given the ubiquity of artificial light at night, determining whether it increases or not the risk of cancer is a public health issue,” mentioned Ariadna García-Saenz, first author of the study.
This isn’t the first time that we have heard about blue light leading to health issues, though certainly nothing this dangerous. Previous studies have showed that blue light could potentially be behind sleep issues. This is due to the fact that the blue light emitted from screens suppresses production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is an essential part of sleeping. Considering the many different health benefits associated with sleep, it’s not much of a surprise that many experts are now recommending avoiding blue light from computer and smartphone screens around two hours before bed.
What Can You Do?
The results of this study mostly point towards blue light, but while we don’t have any formal methods to combat cancer yet, there are some things we can do to try and increase our chances of general healthy function. In the case of the prostate, even if you don’t deal with prostate cancer, there are still several health issues that commonly take place in men. One such example is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Prostate enlargement in this case can lead to difficulty urinating and general discomfort.
For those who have mild issues with the prostate, it may be possible to take self-care methods in order to deal with the issue. These include
- Pelvic-strengthening exercises.
- Staying active with regular exercise.
- Decreasing alcohol and caffeine intake. These don’t affect prostate health, but can have an impact on urination.
- Spacing out how much you drink rather than drinking a lot at once.
- Urinating when the urge strikes rather than trying to wait or “hold it”.
- Avoiding decongestants and antihistamines.
In more extreme circumstances, medication or surgery may even be necessary. For the medication side of things, one common tactic is using a combination of an alpha blocker and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Both of these are also common BPH treatments on their own, but using them together provides for a more powerful usage. From the surgical end, there are both non-invasive/minimally invasive procedures and more invasive ones. Your doctor will determine what makes the most sense.
There are also supplements that you can use to support your general prostate health as well, such as Prostagenix. The idea is not to try and erase health issues, but provide the nutritional support to your body’s systems in order to help it work normally. As a note, supplements can interact with the body in a variety of different ways. As a result, always consult with a doctor before taking dietary supplements to get their advice and recommendations.