A new Swedish study found that brain tumor rates were tripled among people who spoke on cell or cordless phones after more than 25 years. But even still, those numbers are very low while the evidence shows a possible link, not a causation. The link between cell phones and brain cancer could ring true after all.
Swedes who talked on cell or cordless phones for more than 25 years had three times the risk of one type of brain cancer, compared with people who used those phones for under a year, a new study in the journal Pathophysiology suggests.
The longer someone talked on their phone — in terms of hours and years — the more likely they were to develop glioma, a deadly form of brain cancer. The new evidence contradicts the biggest study so far on the topic: The international study, funded in part by cell phone manufacturers, didn't find strong evidence that cell phones increased brain tumor risk. But the good news about the latest study results is that the odds of developing glioma — even when they're tripled — are still low. Slightly more than five out of 100,000 Europeans (.005%) got diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor between 1995 and 2002, according to one 2012 study. That rate tripled is just .016%.
There was no association between wireless phones and malignant brain tumors besides glioma. One limitation for the study, though, is that it relies on people remembering their phone habits from decades ago. Dr. Gabriel Zada, a neurosurgeon at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine who wasn't involved in the new study, said that the study provides more evidence that cell phones and brain cancer may be linked, but more research is needed. "A lot of people ask me, why did I get this brain tumor?'" he told Reuters. "There are a lot of different theories. It's a much more convoluted picture than just saying cell phones caused this." He said people can be careful by using a speakerphone or hands-free headset. Though cell phone use tripled between 2000 and 2010, rates of cancer in areas of the brain exposed to more radiofrequency radiation from cell phones did not rise.
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