On the 3rd of February, 2014, a number of scientists met at the Royal Society Library’s Special Events Room on Carlton House Terrace. The Royal Society Library has been a home to scientists since the 1600s. Professor Bernard Stewart of the Faculty of Medicine from the University of New South Wales and Christopher Wild. PhD, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with a book which is the most influential work up to date. They contributed positively to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) by letting people know of the cancer threat that made everyone vulnerable. It took 6 years to prepare the World Cancer Report 2014. The main function of IARC, which is a cancer agency of the WHO, is to collect information on cancer, rank the level of risk from a range of substances and spread that information among the public.
Dr. Wild and Dr. Stewart told the reporters that the number of cancer cases have taken a hike and it was not easy to get out of this health crisis that easily. Preventative measures have to be adopted on a large scale. The report given by the two authors discussed the destruction of the world that might occur in future with the rise in health care costs. This book is the first World Cancer Report since 2008, consisting of 650 pages.
The reporters present at the press briefing found out that 14,000,000 new cancer cases are being diagnosed per year all over the world, with the prospect of these cases becoming two times higher in the next 20 years, which means 22,000,000 cases each year. It will be a challenging task even for the rich countries to bear the increasing health care costs for treating cancer victims. Sadly, low income countries will become the bearers of this cost and the cancer cases will also be the highest in these countries. Africa, Asia and Central and South America bear 60% of the global burden, while deaths from cancer are 70% in these countries.
Dr. Christopher Wild, the cancer agency’s director says, “Despite exciting advances, the report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem. More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.” This was the big news given by the biggest name at IARC.
While making the report, a lot of thought was put into things that should be disclosed and those that shouldn’t be. The two ends of the rope that Drs. Stewart and Wild were holding onto were truth and denial. The two representatives from IARC and WHO were facing a dilemma and couldn’t decide whether to conceal information or disclose it.
According to the World Cancer Report 2014, the only way to get rid of this situation was through prevention. The two authors told the various reporters from The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC that those causes of cancers that could be easily prevented were alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco.
One man attending the press briefing was a representative of a charity in the UK, whose primary objective was prevention. He was told to remain quiet and sent back to a news desk. He was called into a press conference in London by Eileen O’ Connor, the director of the UK’s Radiation Research Trust (RRT), a non-profit organization that was founded after Eileen was diagnosed with cancer while living in Wishaw, The Midlands section of England. Eileen developed breast cancer in 2001 due to the telecommunications tower that was in her neighborhood for seven years. A lot of people from her neighbourhood were suffering from cancer just like her and were undergoing chemotherapy. This was the reason that led to the formation of the Radiation Research Trust.
Eileen found it difficult to address at the press conference, so she requested RRT’s trusted advisor to do the job on her behalf who was highly concerned about the increasing levels of radiation in the UK and Europe. Eileen told the advisor about the latest Swedish studies on cancer conducted by Dr. Lennart Hardell who found out that with the increase in mobile phone users, cancer rates also rose. The advisor was sure that he would find people concerned about the issue of ‘electrosmog’ due to an increase in the microwave radiation emitted from mobile phones, phone masts, towers, Wi-fi and smart meter. This was that area of concern which urgently required preventative measures, as discussed in the World Cancer Report 2014.
The advisor listened to the co-authors while they were giving the briefing. He expected the two men to share their insights on cancer. They discussed the threats to health that caused cancer, like tobacco, alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity, but did not talk about grave issues like RF radiation, microwave radiation, wireless gadgets. This was very disappointing for the RRT advisor. He hoped that Dr. Wild and Dr. Stewart might do something about it.
In the press conference, only the part of radiation linked with the sun was discussed. Nothing was mentioned about the threats from microwave radiation that powers mobile phones, Wi-fi, smart meters, laptops and mobile towers.
The Advisor told the panel of scientists that he was representing the UK’s Radiation Research Trust and told them that RF (microwave) radiation and everything that lies on the RF-EMF Spectrum was 2B or carcinogenic according to the IARC (The International Agency on Research for Cancer), a sub-group of the WHO that sponsored the report, in May 2011. Furthermore, he said that on the basis of scientific evidence, a major minority of the May 2011 IARC Working Group wanted RF radiation to be classified as 2A, a ‘probable human carcinogen’, rather than being classified as 2B ‘possible human carcinogen’.
He put up a question in front of people, “What was the future trajectory of this RF-EMF Spectrum classification given new science that had come along since May of 2011?” “Since Dr. Lennart Hardell, the scientist whose science was considered as part of the 2B classification, had come out in 2013 and said the classification should now be Group 1, meaning RF radiation is a known human carcinogen, might IARC upgrade the RF Spectrum to 2A, or even Group 1-a known carcinogen? In short, RF radiation causes cancer, the concern among independent scientists appears to be growing, and what does the panel see as a potential for upgrading the warning about RF radiation’s status as a carcinogen?,” he further said.
Dr. Christopher Wild replied to the statement of the advisor by saying that he had also been a part of that Working Group in May 2011 and that there was “no new evidence which suggests there is any cause for concern.” In order to justify themselves, Prof. Bernard Stewart said that in the report, there was a ‘mention’ of RF radiation and that ‘we are aware’. ‘The mention’ was later found by the advisor on page 140 of a 650 pages report.
Despite this, the RRT Advisor remained adamant and informed the scientists that he has been studying the effects of microwave radiation from Wi-fi and cell phones for many years and the findings supported the existence of health risks as an outcome. The Advisor reminded the panel the gravity of the situation and that people were getting ill day by day.
This created a commotion in the room. “Would Drs. Wild and Stewart have a problem with people of all ages being exposed to RF radiation 24/7?,” the Advisor finally asked. “I would have no problem at all,” replied Dr. Stewart.
This came as a shock to those in the assembly because 3 years ago, it was Dr Christopher Wild who lead the committee on the debate of whether RF radiation should be classified as a 2B Human carcinogen, and it was voted unanimously, with only a single dissenter. And this same scientist co-authored the World Cancer Report 2014 which didnt list RF radiation as a preventable carcinogen.