City Lights Linked to Breast Cancer

Scientists believe lights suppress tumor-fighting hormone
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2008 4:45 AM CST
City Lights Linked to Breast Cancer
Dr. Murray Rebner reviews a mammogram done using digital technology at Beaumont Hospital in Michigan. A new study has linked breast cancer with well lit neighborhoods.   (KRT Photos)

Women who live in areas with a large about of night-time light face an increased risk of breast cancer, and scientists believe it may be because the light interferes with a tumor- fighting hormone, reports the Washington Post. Researchers compared satellite images at night with cancer registries and found breast cancer rates up to 64% higher in well-lit areas than in regions with the least amount of night-time illumination. Scientists called it a "clear and strong correlation."

The study, centered on Israel, also raises questions about eco-friendly energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs, which suppress the tumor-fighting hormone melatonin more than conventional bulbs. "This may be a disaster in another 20 years, and you won't be able to reverse what we did," said a scientist.

  (Read more breast cancer stories.)

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