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Cellphones and Cancer: An Update

Posted on: 12/20/2011

From Medscape Neurology > Diener on Neurology


Cellphones and Cancer: An Update

Hans-Christoph Diener, MD, PhD

Authors and Disclosures

Posted: 12/14/2011


Hello, my name is Christoph Diener. I am a neurologist from Germany, and today's topic is brain tumors and mobile phones.


This is a very tricky business. You all remember headlines in newspapers some time ago when retrospective case-controlled studies suggested that people who use mobile phones a lot have an increased risk for brain tumors.


Well, there are some areas of the world where no one would survive if this really were true -- let's be serious. An interesting paper was published in the British Medical Journal [1] in October. A group from Denmark used a huge cohort of cancer patients identified in a national registry. They looked at people who subscribed to a mobile phone service before the year 1995.


They only considered people over the age of 30, because the risk for brain tumors is much lower in the population under 30 years of age. They compared the risk of developing a brain tumor in people who were subscribers to a mobile phone service and people who were nonsubscribers.


The conclusion of this study, which included 360,000 people and identified more than 10,000 brain tumors, was that clearly no relationship existed between the use of mobile phones and brain tumors. This was true for all kinds of tumors: gliomas and meningiomas. It was also true when considering the duration of using a mobile phone. Whether you had a subscription for 10 years or 1 year, it didn't make a difference.


In addition, there was no relationship between the location of the brain tumor and the use of mobile phones. Most people use their phone on the right side of the head. So if patients ask you, you can clearly say, "Don't worry, there is absolutely no risk of developing a brain tumor from using a mobile phone."




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