LIFESTYLE
10/09/2015 09:52 BST | Updated 10/09/2015 09:59 BST

Breast Cancer Patient Warns Against Keeping Mobile Phone In Bra After Terminal Diagnosis

A woman who stored her phone in her bra for nearly 10 years says she believes it caused her to have breast cancer.

Wendy Holt, 51, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 2012.

The mum-of-one, who is from from Bracknell in Berkshire, says she stored her phone in her bra on a daily basis for nearly 10 years and believes the radiation from her phone impacted her health - especially as she has no family history of breast cancer.

After being given the all-clear last year, Holt has now been diagnosed with terminal cancer in her lungs and lymph nodes.

breast cancer

Wendy Holt

"I firmly believe the phone radiation is to blame for my cancer," said Holt, according to the Mail Online.

The 51-year-old added she was always "big-busted" so would store her mobile phone in her bra for ease of access.

"It was pressed against my skin for probably 70% of the day for about 10 years - and I didn't give it a thought," she said. "I want to speak out to make other people stop the habit."

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Holt added that she knows people will disagree with her, but wants to spread the message so that it doesn't happen to anyone else.

"Even keeping your phone in your pocket is better than what I did, where it was trapped in one place against my skin for hours on end," she said.

Holt was first alerted that something may be wrong with her health in January 2012, when she noticed her right breast was incredibly swollen and her skin looked like "orange peel".

But because she couldn't find a lump, she didn't believe it was cancer.

breast cancer

Wendy Holt says her breast resembled an "orange peel"

After her condition failed to improve, Holt went to the doctors and tests revealed almost immediately that she had inflammatory breast cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, inflammatory breast cancer is "a rare and very aggressive disease in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast".

Symptoms include swelling and redness of the breast. The skin may also appear pink, reddish purple or bruised and can develop ridges or appear pitted, like the skin of an orange.

This is caused by the build up of fluid in the skin of the breast.

wendy holt

Wendy Holt and her husband Keith

Holt had a double mastectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and was told that her lymph nodes had cleared.

But then in September 2014, Holt developed a persistent cough and found that she was becoming increasingly breathless. After being treated for asthma, her condition worsened to the point where she was wheelchair-bound.

Tests showed she had secondary inflammatory breast cancer in her lungs and lymphatic system.

She has now been told she might not make it to her 53rd birthday, but says doctors are doing everything they can to keep the cancer at bay.

Holt, whose daughter is pregnant, said she hopes to live to meet her grandchild.

"I didn't think I'd live to become a grandmother, and maybe I still won't, but we'll have to see," she said. "I only hope that other people can learn from my experience."

Mobile phone and cancer link

Dr Helen Webberley, dedicated GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle that we should be mindful of the hazards of radiation in order to minimise risks.

"This is a really sad but interesting case, and we thank people like Wendy for bringing cases like this into the public eye," she says.

"We have worried about radiation from all sources for many years, and mobile communication radiation is also under scrutiny and review.

"We are waiting for results on long term studies that will advise us better on the hazards of radiation, but until then we can only take common-sense precautions and minimise our risks as far as we can."

An expert from Breast Cancer Care adds there still isn't enough evidence to suggest mobile phones can cause cancer.

"It’s not possible to isolate any one factor as a cause of breast cancer, however, at present there is no evidence available to suggest that radio frequency waves from mobile phones can cause breast cancer," says Carolyn Rogers, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care.

"The biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are being female and getting older – 80% diagnosed are over the age of 50. These are factors we cannot control. For some, having a significant family history can increase your risk, however fewer than 10% of all breast cancers are caused by inheriting a faulty breast cancer gene."

If you have any concerns about breast cancer after reading this article, please call Breast Cancer Care on 0808 800 6000 or visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk.

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