Once More: Cell Phones and Brain Cancer?

A new study from the Swedish National Institute for Working Life published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health examined mobile phone user among 2,200 cancer patients between 20 and 80 years of age, and an identical number of control cases. Among the cancer patients, 905 were diagnosed with malignant brain tumors, and about a tenth of those patients were heavy mobile phone users. “Heavy” mobile phone use was defined as 2,000 or more hours of mobile phone use, which the study says approximates using a mobile phone for an hour a day for ten years.

The study also found an increase in cancer risk on the side of the head where the telephone was typically used: according the Kjell Mild, the research leader, the results indicate heavy phone users have a 240 percent increased risk of a malignant brain tumor on the side the head where they most often use their phone.

The Swedish study is the largest to date to study the long-term effects of mobile phones on the incidence of cancer. Mobile phones first went to market in Sweden in 1984, earlier than many other countries, so the population of heavy mobile phone users is proportionately larger than many other nations.

The study contradicts recent conclusions from the Dutch Health Council, which conducted an overview of research studies and concluded no research showed radiation from mobile phones and TV towers caused harm. A four-year British study published in January 2006, also found no link between long-term cell phone usage and the most common type of brain tumor.

One way to avoid any risk of developing brain cancer from use of mobile phones might be to use a handsfree headset to get the phone’s radio emitter away from the skull