Page 59 - magazine-jan-feb14

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from Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
CELLPHONES
AND
CANCER
What’s the risk?
So what have
researchers learned
about cellphones and
cancer? Here’s an
overview of various
studies:
In one study that followed more than
420,000 cellphone users over a 20-year
period, researchers found no evidence
of a link between cellphones and brain
tumors.
• Another study found an association
between cellphones and cancer of the
salivary glands. However, only a small
number of study participants had
malignant tumors.
• Another recent study suggested a
possible increased risk of glioma - a
specific type of brain tumor - for
the heaviest cellphone users, but no
increase in brain tumor risk overall.
After evaluating several studies
on the possibility of a connection
between cellphones and glioma and
a noncancerous brain tumor known
as acoustic neuroma, members of the
International Agency for Research
on Cancer - part of the World Health
Organization - agreed that there’s
limited evidence that cellphone
radiation is a cancer-causing agent
(carcinogenic). As a result, the
group classified radiofrequency
electromagnetic fields as possibly
carcinogenic to people.
Still, a series of recent studies can’t tell
the entire story. It often takes many
years between the use of a new cancer-
causing agent - such as tobacco - and
the observation of an increase in cancer
rates. At this point, it’s possible that
too little time has passed to detect
an increase in cancer rates directly
attributable to cellphone use.
The bottom line?
For now, no one
knows if cellphones are capable of causing
cancer. Although long-term studies are
ongoing, to date there’s no convincing
evidence that cellphone use increases the
risk of cancer. If you’re concerned about
the possible link between cellphones
and cancer, consider limiting your use of
cellphones - or use a speaker or hands-
free device that places the cellphone
antenna, which is typically in the
cellphone itself, away from your head.
Is there any link between
cellphones and cancer?
The possible connection between cellphones and
cancer is controversial.
Many years’ worth of studies on
cellphones and cancer have yielded conflicting results.
Currently, there’s no consensus about the degree of
cancer risk - if any - posed by cellphone use.
The primary concern with cellphones and cancer
seems to be the development of brain tumors
associated with cellphone use.
Some research suggests
a slight increase in the rate of brain tumors since the
1970s, but cellphones weren’t in use during the 1970s.
Instead, the subtle increases are more likely related to
other factors - such as increased access to medical care
and improvements in diagnostic imaging.
H
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