The link of cell phones with brain cancer and other health problems is a reason for concern, says the National Cancer Institute in the United States. Here’s why.
- Cell phones emit radio frequency energy that is absorbed by the tissues in the human body.
- People are using their phones more frequently. By constantly using a phone, people are increasing their exposure to the radio frequencies.
- People are making longer phones calls and more phone calls than ever before. Longer calls mean longer doses of radio frequency absorption at a time.
A recent study published in Journal of Environment and Public Health looks into the rise of aggressive malignant brain tumors and their association with lifestyle changes in human beings. The study looks into the rate of glioblastoma, which increased from 2.4 to 5.0 per 10,000 people in England between 1995 and 2015.
While the data only looks into the rise of cases of brain tumors without suggesting any reason for this rise, researchers did point to certain lifestyle factors that they think might have contributed to a sustained rise in brain cancer. They said that cell phone use was one of the possible reasons associated with brain tumors and changes in the brain.
Glioblastoma - A Quick Look
Alasdair Philips, the lead author of the study is also a trustee of Children with Cancer, UK. He mentions that the paper discusses the change in tumors without specifically looking at cell phones as the cause. That said, the presence of tumors in frontal and temporal lobes, and in areas near the ear and forehead raise the suspicion for cell phones as a possible cause.
He also mentioned that brain tumors are rare, and his suspicion should not be a cause for concern. Getting an individual tumor because of cell phone use is still a very low-risk factor. He said that those who use cell phones for long calls should either try to reduce the duration of the calls or use the phone in hands-free mode to keep it further away from your head.
What Do The Experts Have To Say?
According to several experts in the UK, it is not proven that cell phone usage might be responsible for an increase in brain tumors. The studies done in this field actually raise more questions than provide answers about the link between cell phone radiation and cancer risk. While some studies have shown that cell phone radio frequency causes a risk of tumors, other studies suggest the opposite.
The US Food and Drug Administration also notes that the radio frequency energy emitted by cell phones is on the lower scale that it is too weak to do any damage to biological tissue.
Are Cell Phones to Blame for Rise in Cancer?
According to a study that explored cancer registration data for malignant brain tumors diagnosed in England from 1995 to 2015, researched found there were 1,548 additional cases of aggressive glioblastoma multiforme tumor cases annually. The rise in the number of cases has been consistent over the years, and it is a significant number.
The researchers also mentioned that one of the possible factors leading to a rise in glioblastoma cases could be ionizing radiation emitted from X-rays used in CT scans. Other possible causes mentioned by researchers include exposure to atomic bomb testing fallout, inhaling radioactive substances, air pollution caused by traffic, and cell phone usage.
The research does not directly point to cell phones as the leading cause of a rise in malignant brain tumors in England. There are specific statistical techniques that use time-series analysis to link putative risk factors with changes in outcome over time. It suffices to say that even if brain tumor incidents occur simultaneously as a rise in cell phone usage, it does not mean that one is the reason for other.
The increase in cell phone usage has been monumental from less than 15% to 95% over the same time period in which malignant brain tumors did not increase at the same rate. The link between mobile phone usage and malignant brain tumors remains speculative at best.
Worried? Here’s What You Can Do
If you are concerned that your cell phone might be adversely affecting your health, you can take some simple steps to limit your cell phone usage. Keep your calls short and use the speaker mode or a hands-free Bluetooth device when you have to take a long call. Avoid keeping your phone by your bedside when sleeping. You can also move the conversation to text instead of talking. Keeping conversations short and to the point will not only save you time, but it will also help you to get rid of any fear you might have about the negative effects of cell phone radiation.