Brain tumours are one of the leading causes of pediatric cancer mortality. While some studies have found an association between cell phone use and brain tumors, the overall body of evidence is mixed, and more research is needed to fully understand the relationship. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies have stated that current evidence does not support a causal link between cell phone use and brain tumors however the most recent systematic review concluded there was a significant positive association between long-term mobile phone use (10 years or more) and glioma, especially if the phone was used on one side of the head (Yang et al, 2017). The largest study, INTERPHONE, involving over 5000 people, identified a 40% increased risk of glioma with cumulative cell phone use beyond 1,640 hours. The incidence of brain tumours appears to be most prevalent in young males in developed countries according to a recent global study (Huang et al, 2022).
Risk factors suspected to play a role in the development of central nervous system cancers include traumatic brain injury, ionizing radiation, smoking, and toxicants (vinyl chloride, nitrosamines, pesticides, printing chemicals) and cell phone use. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RF-EMF as a Group 2B possible human carcinogen in 2011, and subsequent studies have further strengthened this association.
Tips to using your cell phone
It is always good practice to take precautions when using cell phones. Here are some tips:
- Never put it next to your head when making or receiving a call
- Text instead of calling whenever you can
- When making or receiving calls, use loudspeaker or a wired headset (not Bluetooth) and place the phone away from your body (ie in your hand or table)
- Avoid prolonged use
- Consider calling through Skype (PC) as opposed to using your cell phone
- Cell phones and wi-fi enabled devices shouldnot be in your bedroom whilst sleeping
Huang J, Chan SC, Lok V, Zhang L, Lin X, Lucero-Prisno DE, Xu W, Zheng ZJ, Elcarte E, Withers M, Wong MCS; NCD Global Health Research Group, Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). (2022). Disease Burden, Risk Factors, and Trends of Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancer: a global study of registries data. Neuro Oncol. 2022 Sep 1:noac213. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noac213.
Yang M, Guo W, Yang C, Tang J, Huang Q, Feng S, et al. (2017) Mobile phone use and glioma risk: A systematic review and metaanalysis. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0175136. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175136