SCIENCE: Stronger link between melanoma (skin cancer) and towers than from sun exposure


Skin Cancer/ FM

In the 1950s many countries began to see a dramatic increase in the skin cancer melanoma. Professors Örjan Hallberg and Olle Johansson,* noted that the sharp upsurge of skin cancer had begun in 1955, around six years before flying off for a holiday in the sun became popular, and looked for other possible causes. Previous research suggested a link between the risk of developing melanoma and the distance people lived from FM radio transmitters, so they decided to research the link in more depth. [1]

Analysing data from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the US, they found roughly similar experiences in all four countries:

  • The rolling out of FM transmitter towers led to the same increase in melanoma skin cancer after the same delay
  • The more FM transmitter towers in a country, the higher the levels of melanoma skin cancer

This finding was echoed in Australia, where a significant increase in melanoma skin cancer deaths between 1964 and 1967 corresponded with the introduction of high power TV antenna masts.

Örjan and Olle’s 2004 and 2005 studies confirmed these findings. [2,3] Focusing this time on melanoma skin cancer and what happened in the separate counties within Sweden, they discovered the same strong links. They also concluded that:

  • there was a stronger link between developing melanoma and exposure to electromagnetic waves from FM transmitter towers than with exposure to ultraviolet radiation
  • continuous disturbance of cell repair mechanisms by electromagnetic fields seemed to amplify the carcinogenic cell damage caused by other factors like ultraviolet radiation

Örjan and Olle also looked at the data for all cancer deaths in Sweden since 1912. This showed that:

  • rates started to increase in 1920 when medium wave radio was introduced
  • the rate of increase jumped significantly in 1955 when Sweden got FM radio and TV1
  • the rate jumped again in 1969-70 when TV2 and colour TV were brought in
  • the rate dropped sharply in 1978 when the use of the old AM broadcasting transmitter towers declined and
  • the rate started to increase again about 4-5 years later

They also noted a strong geographical relationship between transmitter towers and clusters of skin cancer and lung, breast and colon cancer.

Ed.- (i) As further evidence that the human body is affected by radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF), Örjan and Olle cited 1 the fascinating work by Augustsson and Stierner. [2,3] They recorded the locations of moles and melanoma on the bodies of hundreds of volunteers, then combined the results in a ‘dot density map’ and discovered that some locations were more popular than others. They then drew on the lines of the tiny electric currents generated in the body by exposure to RF and noted a strong overlap, suggesting a link.

Augustsson and Stierner also noted that the highest mole densities were found in areas that were not normally exposed to sunshine.

A copy of this article may be downloaded free of charge from

* from the Karolinska Institute’s Department of Neuroscience in Stockholm, Sweden


[1] Hallberg,Ö and Johansson,O.
Archives of Environmental Health 2002;57(1):32-40

[2] Hallberg,Ö and Johansson,O.
Medical Science Monitor 2004;10 (7):336-340

[3] Hallberg,Ö and Johansson,O.
Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 2005;24:1-8


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