October 28, 2009 02:00am
BRAIN cancer surgeon Charlie Teo has urged people to put mobile phones on loudspeaker, move clock radios to the foot of the bed and wait until microwaves have finished beeping before opening them.
The controversial Sydney specialist told a Melbourne fundraiser that although the jury was still out on mobile phones and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, we should not take risks.
"Even though the jury's not in, just to err on the side of safety I would try and limit the amount of electromagnetic radiation that you're exposed to," he said.
"The American government, for example, recommend that all electrical appliances should be put at the foot of the bed and not the head of the bed.
"Electric blankets should be turned off before you get in bed and definitely wait for those five beeps before you open the microwave.
"With the mobile phone I encourage you to put it on loudspeaker and step outside rather than sticking it up to your brain."
Dr Teo, who tackles tumours other surgeons deem inoperable, said some hair dyes, particularly red, could also cause brain cancer in people with a predisposition.
"The body needs some genetic predisposition. The hair dye, the mobile phone, they're just catalysts but you probably need some sort of genetic aberration to get the cancer in the first place," he said.
Dr Teo, who stars in Channel Seven's Last Chance Surgery, was in Melbourne last week for the Blackwood8 fundraiser at Croydon golf club.
The group was founded by family and friends of Sally White, a patient of Dr Teo's whose outlook has improved dramatically.
Dr Teo said while breast cancer doubled its cell numbers in weeks or months, the quickest brain cancers took just 16 hours.
No age group was immune and the incidence of brain tumours was growing.
"It's increasing in frequency both in this country and developing countries and it used to be ranked out of the top 10 but it's just joined the top 10 most common cancers," he said.
Recent studies have raised alarm bells about mobile phones.
An unreleased World Health Organisation study reportedly found "a significantly increased risk" of some brain tumours related to use of mobile phones for 10 years or more.
A Suleyman Demirel University study in Turkey also found wearing a mobile phone on your belt may lead to decreased bone density in an area of the pelvis commonly used for bone grafts.
Dr Teo said there had been some advancements in treating tumours, like microwave therapy and putting chemotherapy directly into a tumour. A healthy diet, meditation and positive thought could also be beneficial.
"We believe that they probably boost the immune system," he said.
Dr Teo's tips to reduce brain tumour risks
- Get eight hours sleep a night and eat well to boost your immune system
- Keep electrical appliances like clock radios at the foot of the bed
- Turn electric blankets off before retiring
- Put mobile phones on hands-free
- Wait until the microwave finishes beeping before opening it