Scientists have found the first evidence linking brain cancer with mobile phone use.
It was found that users who spend more than an hour a day talking on a mobile phone have a close to one-third higher risk of developing a rare form of brain tumor. Most frequently, the cancers were found on the side of the head that the user held the phone up to.
The association was found with digital mobile phones, old-style analogue mobile phones and digital enhanced cordless phones.
Although radiation from mobile phones has been shown to alter the brain and affect memory, past studies have found no evidence of a link between brain cancer and mobile phone use.
In the current study, researchers looked at the medical records of 1,600 patients with tumors who had used mobile phones for up to 10 years before diagnosis. They found that the more mobile phones were used, and the more years they were used, the higher the risk of brain tumors.
Further, spending more than an hour on a mobile phone per day increased the risk of acoustic neuroma, a type of tumor, by some 30 percent. This type of tumor, usually curable by surgery, can occur in a nerve in the brain and lead to deafness in one ear.
Incidences of this type of cancer, though rare, have increased from one tumor per 100,000 people in 1980 to one per 80,000 today.
Researchers say that the findings appear to show a link, but further studies are needed to confirm the results.
International Journal of Oncology February 2003;22(2):399-407