Cell phone use may increase brain cancer risk

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Cell phone use may increase a rare yet deadly brain cancer called glioma, according to a new study published in the May 18 International Journal of Epidemiology.  But news media reported all over the Internet that the study is inconclusive.

The world's largest study found that heavy users were 40 percent more likely than those who used cell phone least often to develop a brain cancer.

Heavy users in the study were defined as those using cell phones for 30 or more minutes per day.  The risk for today's HEAVY cell phone users is expected to be much higher than those heavy users in the study.

The study of more than 10,000 was led by Jack Siemiatycki, at the University of Montreal and an epidemiologist at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center and 20 other epidemiologists from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

The Associated Press reported that it takes 20 or 30 years to develop brain tumors meaning that the real impact of cell phone on the brain cancer risk remains unknown because most studies ever conducted involved people who used mobible phones for less than 10 years.

Researchers warn that children are more vulnerable to the radiation or readio waves from cell phones and they should avoid using cell phones whenever possible.

Many studies have been conducted, but findings as always are inconsistent.  Most studies only followed study subjects for a few years, which critics say are not long enough to observe any possible harm from the modern communication tool.

Dr. Lennart Hardell, an oncologist in Sweden, may be one of only a few researchers who conducted long term studies and found positive associations between long term use of cell phone and elevated risk of brain cancer.

Dr. Hardell reviewed 23 studies and found there is no association between use of cell phones and brain cancer. He published his findings in 2007.

But he also noted that only eight of these 23 studies are scientifically sound.

When he meta-analyzed data from 11 studies that followed subjects using cell phones for more than 10 years, he found that ipsilateral cell phone use (or use of cell phones on the same side) would increase risk of acountstic neuroma, a benign tumor, by 140 percent and risk of glioma by 100 percent.

The cell phone industry says the current study is inconclusive and there is no evidence that use of cell phones increases risk of brain cancer. 

A health ovserver suggests that cell phone users need to make their own conclusion and they should not wait for others to tell them whether long term use of cell phones is safe.

Jimmy Downs

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