Print 20 comment(s) - last by FS.. on Feb 18 at 9:41 PM

Study finds long term heavy use of cell phones does increase cancer risk

It's not uncommon that studies done on the same subject often come to vastly different conclusions; and studies on the link between increased risk of cancer and cell phone usage are no exception.

A study published last year in American Journal of Epidemiology has shown that frequent cell phone users face a 50 percent higher risk of developing certain types of tumors. Specifically the risk of developing parotid tumors is increased by 50 percent. The parotid is the largest salivary gland and is located near the jaw and ear where cell phones are typically held.

A 50 percent increased risk of cancer sounds very serious, and any increased chance of cancer should be taken seriously. However, if you stand back and look at the actual numbers the chance of getting a tumor from using a cell phone is still incredibly minute.

A study performed by Mark Kidd showed that in heavy cell phone users the risk of parotid tumors increased from 0.003 percent to 0.0045 percent.

In September of 2007 DailyTech reported that the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme published a study stating that there was no short-term link between cancer and cell phone use. The report did say that more research was needed into the association of long term cell phone use and cancer.

A study by Dr. Siegal Sadetzki showed that using a cell phone for more than 10 years does in fact raise the risk of brain cancer and notes that children are particularly at risk because of their developing skulls. Sadetzki says, “While I think this technology is here to stay, I believe precautions should be taken in order to diminish the exposure and lower the risk for health hazards.”

Sadetzki recommends using a hands-free device at all times and holding the phone away from the body along with shorter less frequent calls. She also says limit the time kids spend on the phone.

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RE: Unlikely.
By oab on 2/18/2008 2:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
It also only talks about one specific type of cancer, not cancer in general. And a growth in your salivary ducts is not brain cancer, one is more serious than the other.

What defines 'heavy' use is up in the air, does using blackberry email 24/7 count as heavy? or just talking? What about text messaging? Is it number of hours spent talking on a cell phone per week? Does having a cell phone on a belt clip increase testicular or colon cancer occurance? It's connected, and most people keep it in a belt clip or a pocket (men I mean, women in a purse usually)? Is it talking and having the phone connected that matters, or just turned on? What about text messaging/email? Does it increase the chance of RSI using the keypad so often? Does it increase the possibility of arthritis? Is the cancer more prevalent on one side of the face or the other (ie. does it correspond to handedness?)

Lots of questions that have been unanswered. Of course, you can just "assume it does, get a hands-free, and hope that bluetooth doesn't cause cancer too". Or your municipal wi-fi network. Or your university/company network. Or the coffee shop you hang around in all the time.

What about people who live next to radio transmitters? Do they get cancer more often than those who live far away? What about people who live next to cell-phone transmitters (ie. in apartment buildings), do they have other non-cancerous mental illnesses (such as ADHD, or ODD, or ASPD?

Long-term studies measuring such things as "total radiation exposure" would be better off (including measuring cell-phone, wireless networks, AM/FM, UHF/VHF transmissions, etc.)

Until then, I'm skeptical. Plus, an increase of 1 in 100,000 is statistically insignificant, is it not within the margin for error?

RE: Unlikely.
By Oregonian2 on 2/18/2008 3:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it's even trickier than that. It could be something associative as well. People who use cell phones a lot probably have other things in common as well (statistically) and one of those other things may be the actual cause (or of course it could be the cell phone itself). Or it could be certain plastics often used in the making of cell phones. Or it could just be people who talk a lot.

RE: Unlikely.
By dgingeri on 2/18/2008 3:17:01 PM , Rating: 3
I would find it likely that those who use cell phone that frequently to make this kind of a difference would also be the kind to suffer a lot higher stress in their life, thus increasing their cancer rates significantly anyway.

This is like saying that people who brush their teeth less are more likely to suffer heart attacks. More likely is that people who don't brush their teeth are also those who don't take as good of care of themselves anyway, and that is more the link between that and increased heart attacks.

In both cases, it is more like saying that since some owls are brown, all bears are owls.

RE: Unlikely.
By blaster5k on 2/18/2008 6:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
I just want to add that this is almost always the case with studies. They're nowhere near as telling as a controlled double-blind test, but I think you'd have trouble pulling one of those off with cell phone use. The person given a fake phone is going to figure out he's in the control group pretty quickly.

Bottom line: Studies make the news all the time, but a lot of their "findings" are likely to be inaccurate or even utter crap.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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