Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

Category: Mobile

Are you concerned about the risk of getting cancer from long-term cell phone usage? Finally, some scientific studies assessing the link between cell phones and cancer have been conducted. The results are in, and I for one was surprised...

cell phones and cancer

Cell Phones and Cancer: No Evidence

A study published today by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute should put chronic cell phone users at ease. Researchers in Denmark studied 420,000 cell phone users whose cases were followed for up to 21 years. The study focused on both men and women who began using cellular telephone service between 1982 and 1995, and followed them through 2002 for signs of cancer. The bottom line:

"We found no evidence for an association between tumor risk and cellular telephone use among either short-term or long-term users."

Researchers took advantage of the fact that Denmark maintains a national cancer registry, and correlated that to cell phone subscriber records. Statistically, they expected to find 15,000 incidences of cancer (brain tumors, acoustic neuromas, leukemias, etc.) in the group, but the number turned out to be less -- only 14,249 indicents of cancer were noted in the group.

Just to clarify, I don't mean to say they expected to find 15,000 cancers related to cell phones... I'm saying that based on medical stats they knew that in ANY group of 400,000 people, they could expect to find that many cases of cancer. If there was a definitive link between cell phones and cancer, you'd expect the numbers for this group, comprised ONLY of cell phone users, to be much higher.

But contrary to the widely-held suspicion that cell phone usage causes cancer, this study indicates a lower rate of cancer among long-term cell phone users. The study also found no link between the side of the head on which brain cancers occurred and the side on which the cellular phone was used. If you want more details on the study, you can see the facts and figures for yourself.

Other Cell Phone Studies Concur

Just in case you're inclined to dismiss this study because it was conducted in Denmark, consider the fact that other studies conducted elsewhere have drawn the same conclusion.

  • Dr. Joshua Muscat, of the American Health Foundation in Valhalla NY, reported in the April 2002 issue of Neurology that use of cellular telephones does not appear to increase the risk of acoustic neuromas or benign tumors. His study focused on brain cancer patients in New York, Providence and Boston.
  • Another study conducted by Dr. Peter Inskip looked at 782 hospital patients in Phoenix, Arizona, Boston and Pittsburgh. His findings, published in the January 2001 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine do not support the claim that use of cellular telephones causes brain tumors.
  • The Food and Drug Administration did a study on the possible negative health effects from the low levels of electromagnetic energy emitted by mobile phones and found that the current scientific evidence did not support such a link. The FDA report cited experts who said that even if a cell phone's antenna is right up against the skull, the six-tenths of a watt of power emitted couldn't possibly affect human health. John E. Moulder, a Ph.D. cancer researcher and professor of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin is quoted as saying that biological effects from mobile phones are "somewhere between impossible and implausible."

Have You Tried the Caveat?

Even though these studies seem to clearly debunk the "cell phone cancer" theory, it's interesting that several of the researchers mentioned that ongoing research is needed to make sure the results hold true for those who use cell phones for 10 years or more.

It makes sense to me to minimize cell phone use, and exposure to the radio waves they emit, just to be on the safe side. I find that cell phone technology still has not advanced to the point where a clear, uninterrupted conversation is possible, even when there is a strong signal. So if I have a choice, I'll pick up a conventional phone with a land line any time. If you must spend countless hours on a cell phone, consider using a headset to place more distance between the antenna and your brain.

Got comments about cell phones and health risks? Post your thoughts below...

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Most recent comments on "Cell Phones Cause Cancer?"

Posted by:

sid duncan
07 Dec 2006

I would love to know who financed the studies..could it be......Satan? No? ok how about Nokia, Motorola etc.?

Posted by:

Marty Wolfson
07 Dec 2006

If, and I emphasize IF there are risks from exposure, wouldn't cordless (i.e.- bluetooth) earpieces also carry that risk? I don't know but I'm assuming it's a similar means of transmission?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Bluetooth uses a very low power signal, compared to cell phones. So the risk should be correspondingly lower. But there's no way I'm going to strap one of those things on my head... Nothing says "I AM A GEEK!" quite so loud as a Bluetooth headset!

Posted by:

Gary D Smith
15 Dec 2006

check out Dr. Mercolas comments using the link below. I personally use the speaker option on my phone and don't put it near my brain. See http://www.mercola.com/1999/archive/cell_phones_and_cancer.htm

Posted by:

15 Dec 2006

Sid - relax. It was a study based on medical data correlated to cell phone subscribers. Danish, not American. Follow the link.

And Bob - you won't wear a bluetooth headset because it makes you look like a geek?? (laughs) Sorry, but your personality will give such things away anyway ;-) In this part of the world bluetooth headsets are actually a fashion statement.

We pretty much swim in a sea of radiation - both natural and man-made. Sunscreen? Thats for radiation. Shielded cable, like for cable-vision? Thats to reduce radiation interference. Radio, TV, cell, CB, microwave, satellites, sat phones, visible light, heat, and the AC wires in your wall - they all work by radiation. Telsa, the perfecter of AC current worked on methods to broadcast electricity.

In all cases, the key is moderation. Don't stick your head in a microwave oven, nor hold an antenna against your head all day. Common sense.

Posted by:

15 Dec 2006

How many people had cell phones for 21 years? I know they have been around for a long time (1980's for commercial use, but the cost, not to mention the size of the early mobile phones would make them available and desirable only to business and a few well-off folks. Even then, cell phone use would have been different from what is has been since the late 1990's. I would say that the proof, one way or another, in not yet in.

Posted by:

Pat Senson
15 Dec 2006

The study was funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council and the Danish Cancer Society. So, no this isn't corporate research. And, going beyond this, the actual study could be biased, yes, but their data set is the entire country of Denmark, so it gets around a lot of selection problems a lot of these studies can suffer from. One of the editorials I read on this (sorry, I forget which, I read a lot of them) pointed out that the funding agencies involved in this work actually want to figure out what's causing cancer!

Posted by:

15 Dec 2006

Bravo David for the voice of moderation. Good comment Linda although the greater radiation output of the old units might balance off the greater use of the newer, lower emission units. I am just happy that my level of use probably won't endanger my health but moderation is still a good idea, and I do use my headset/speaker if it is practical to do so.

Posted by:

16 Dec 2006

from my cynical point of view -- since i work in a large city and have seen no obvious decrease in cell-phone use -- i would more imagine that the headset manufacturers were the ones who started the cancer rumor in the first place. and now that the beauty of 'hands free' has been so widely touted, and supported by various city ordinances against driving with phone in hand, *fear* is no longer needed to drive sales.

Posted by:

17 Dec 2006

Wow!!!! Man it doesn't look good for me!! I have had my hands in leaded gas and a Bluetooth strapped to my head for awhile now, really we should all be looking at the small amounts of contaminents that we ingest everyday in our food chain, in the clothes that we wear, the food that we eat, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, miniscule yes, over a entire life time of use????? Hello!

Posted by:

09 Jan 2007

It is totally expected that cell phones do not cause cancer - no matter how much they are used. Cancer is initiated by damaging DNA - by chemical carcinogens (such as tobacco smoke), ionising radiation (X-rays, UV) or specific viruses - the altered DNA chemical bonds resulting in mutation. Microwave photons can stretch or bend chemical bonds but cannot break then - the microwave photons just do not have sufficient energy. Visible light photons have far more energy than microwave photons but again, visible light, no matter what the intensity, will not alter DNA (unless the ionising radiation of UV etc is present).

Same applies with the widespread beliefs that power lines or microwave ovens cause cancer - just not possible.

A good book to read on a range of pseudoscience is "Voodoo Science" by Bob Park.

Posted by:

Rohan Wickramasinghe
23 Jan 2007

I am not sure if this is relevant to cancer but shall offer it for interest. As a kid, I used to keep homing pigeons and release them some distance from our home and measure the time they took to return. I found that if the local radio station lay between the point of release and our home, they took very much longer to get back. I afterwards found that others had observed this, as well. It seems that radio transmissions disturb the homing ability of pigeons, in which the brain presumably plays an important role. This information is not recent. Perhaps another reader can update it.

Posted by:

Jeffrey Lotesto
10 Apr 2007

I just purchased a sony vaio laptop and cannot turn off the microphone on my computer . Could you please help on how to turn it off?

EDITOR'S NOTE: If your mic doesn't have a switch, go to Control Panel / Sounds / Audio tab, then click Volume under Sound Recording.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2008

Here's and article that has a different take on the whole cancer and cell phone issue.


Posted by:

14 Jul 2008

Cell phone companies will eventually be sued big time in the future before they accept the idea that some cancer problems may be linked to the use of cell phone and it gadgets.

Posted by:

17 Nov 2008

i dont think this is true!!!!! its my thoughts ok.!!!!!

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's nice!!! But it's based on wishful thinking!!!!

Posted by:

28 Jan 2009

TRY READING THIS FOR PROOF THAT RF/MICROWAVES FROM CELLPHONES CAUSE CANCER!!http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7025

And the scary fact that the American Cancer Society is in bed with the Telecommunications giants by receiving huge contributions.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Interesting info about cell TOWERS, but it really doesn't shed any light on the use of cell PHONES... And just to present a balanced view, see http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_1_3X_Cellular_Phone_Towers.asp

Posted by:

22 Dec 2010

Is there any thing left that doesn't cause cancer?

Posted by:

21 Jan 2011

Myth and truth about cell radiation here

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