Using your phone in bed at night 'increases your risk of bowel cancer'

USING your phone in bed at night can increase your risk of bowel cancer by 60 per cent, experts have warned.

The blue light emitted from devices can also increase the risk of other health problems such as obesity and sleep disorders.

Researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that increased exposure to screens at night can suppress melatonin levels – which act as a powerful antioxidant in the body.

This also helps regulate day-night cycles and too much exposure hampers the body’s circadian rhythms.

This affects hormone levels and some cancers – such as prostate and breast cancers, are hormone related.

Bowel cancer affects more than 250,000 people in the UK each year and is the second most common cause of cancer deaths.

This is why The Sun previously launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign to urge people to talk about their number twos, to raise awareness and urge everyone to learn the warning signs.

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer is where the disease starts in the large intestines

It's also referred to as colon or colorectal cancer, because it can also affect the colon and rectum.

Most bowel cancers develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.

Not all will turn cancerous, but if your doctor finds any, they will tend to remove them to prevent cancer.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common form of the disease in the UK, with 42,000 people diagnosed every year, according to Bowel Cancer UK.

More than 94 per cent of new cases are in people over the age of 50, while nearly 59 per cent are in the over 70s.

But bowel cancer can affect anyone, of any age with more than 2,500 cases diagnosed in people under the age of 50 each year.

The campaign also called for the screening age to be lowered from 60 to 50 -a move which could save thousands of lives every year. Just months after launching No Time 2 Lose, the Government vowed to lower the screening age, marking a victory for The Sun, Bowel Cancer UK and campaigners.

To gather their findings the researchers in Spain surveyed 2,000 participants who lived in Barcelona and Madrid.

They used images from the International Space Station to observe the level of blue light during the night in both cities.

Night shift workers were excluded from the study and the experts found that people who lived in areas with the highest exposure to blue light had 60 per cent higher risk of developing bowel cancer than those who were less exposed.

Out of the 2,000 participants surveyed, 650 of them were found to have bowel cancer.

Writing in the Epidemiology Journal, study coordinator Dr Manolis Kogevinas said blue light is most often emitted from mobile phone screens, tablets and LED lamps.

The energy from the light, he said can suppress melatonin in the body after increased exposure over time.

Writing on Twitter he said: "We did the study because colorectal cancer is associated with night shift work & circadian disruption."

In 2018 a group of researchers at the Barcelona Institute of Global Health also found a link between heavy LED light exposure and prostate cancer.

From a study of 4,000 people in 11 regions of Spain, they found that the risk of prostate cancer doubled and that people were 1.5 times more likely to get breast cancer.

Officials in Spain have previously raised concerns about LED street lights and Public Health England has also raised concerns about the increased use of LED lights on new cars.

Dr Kogevinas said: "Using the same methodology as the previous study, we decided to analyse the relationship between exposure to artificial light and colorectal cancer, the third most common type of cancer worldwide after lung and breast cancer."

He added that there were “growing concerns” when it comes to the link between screen time and cancer rates.

Dr Kogevinas added: "Night-time exposure to light, especially blue-spectrum light, can decrease the production and secretion of melatonin, depending on the intensity and wavelength of the light.

"There is growing concern about the effects of light on ecosystems and human health.

"Research on the potential effects of light exposure is still in its infancy, so more work is needed to provide sound, evidence-based recommendations to prevent adverse outcomes."

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