Can You Hear Me Now

Cancer risk not from long term cell phone use

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Using a cell phone is an every day, common practice. The possible health risks, including cancer, may be scary but also untrue.

Danish researchers at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology studied the cell phone use of 358,403 indviduals from 1990 to 2007. When compared to individuals who did not use cell phones, there was no increase in the risk of cancer or developing central nervous system tumors.

"Using your cell phone inappropriately can still have negative side effects."

The study separated cell phone users into two groups -  those who used cell phones before 1995 and users after 1995. The study found no evidence linking cancer and cell phone use, even for individuals who had used cell phones for more than 13 years.

The focus of this study was long term usage.  During the time period of the study, over 10,000 cases of individuals who developed tumors in the central nervous system were reported in the general population. When long term cell users were compared to non-users, there was no evidence of increased risk among cell users.

Previous studies have been inconclusive, were limited to small sample groups and not focused on long term effects of cell phone use. These small groups led to errors and inaccurate results. There was greater cause for concern when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) stated that the electromagnetic fields given off by cell phones could possibly be carcinogenic.

The only previous study that featured such a large sample size was conducted from 1982 to 1995. The study examined 420,095 cell phone users during that time period and followed up with them in 1996 and 2002. This study also found no evidence of increased cancer risks.

As cell phone use increases and the amount of users (some 5 billion in 2010)  increase, further study is needed. The number of users who have used a cell phone for more than 15 years will also increase. Scientists and researchers need to examine these longer periods of cell phone use and examine any possible risks.

This study was published in the October edition of the British Medical Journal.

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Review Date: 
October 19, 2011
Last Updated:
October 23, 2011