Is There a Link Between Cell Phones and Cancer?

N. Madison

The jury is still out on whether or not there is a link between cell phones and cancer. Some scientists believe the electromagnetic radiation field cell phones emit is responsible for the development of certain types of cancer, especially brain tumors. This is a controversial subject with lots of theories, but little actual evidence.

It may take years before a link between cell phone use and brain cancer is made.
It may take years before a link between cell phone use and brain cancer is made.

So far, there have been many studies of cell phones and cancer. However, they have not proven a link between the two. For example, one study involved over 400,000 participants who all used cell phones for many years. In this study, researchers were unable to find evidence that cell phones cause cancer.

Some people worry about the dangers of holding a cellphone close to the head for long periods of time.
Some people worry about the dangers of holding a cellphone close to the head for long periods of time.

Sometimes, research studies do seem to provide evidence that cell phones contribute to cancer, but the evidence is conflicting. For example, one study did produce some evidence of a connection between cell phones and cancer. The cancer involved the salivary glands, and only a small number of the study's participants actually developed it. One of the major problems with this study is that many of the participants used tobacco products. Since tobacco products are known to cause cancer, it is difficult to determine whether or not the cancer developed as a result of cell phone use or as a result of the tobacco.

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Some brain tumors are diagnosed as benign, while others are malignant tumors that advance quickly.
Some brain tumors are diagnosed as benign, while others are malignant tumors that advance quickly.

Since most studies involving cell phones and cancer have been inconclusive, it is unknown whether or not cell phones can cause cancer. However, some people choose to take precautions--just in case. For example, they may decide to use their cell phones for very short phone calls and only when absolutely necessary. Others may use headsets for their cell phones, as it theorized that the radiation exposure caused when a person has a cell phone antenna close to his or her head may be an important factor in brain tumors. Some choose to limit the amount of time their children spend on cell phones, as developing tissue may be more vulnerable to radiation.

Studies on potential ties between phones and cancer are so far inconclusive.
Studies on potential ties between phones and cancer are so far inconclusive.

Though the link between cell phones and cancer hasn't been proven yet, some scientists assert that it is just a matter of time. They state that it took years to discover the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. As such, they worry that it will take a similar amount of years for people to discover the link between cell phones and cancer.

Those who believe cell phones cause cancer often cite imperfect studies as a reason no link has yet been proven. For example, some studies define regular cell phone use as just once per week. In reality, typical cell phone use may be much more than that. If research studies don't experiment with typical cell phone use, the results may be dramatically flawed.

While there have been many studies on cell phones and cancer, the jury is still out on a definitive link between the two.
While there have been many studies on cell phones and cancer, the jury is still out on a definitive link between the two.

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Discussion Comments

ronburg44

With the modern rates of cancer going through the roof it wouldn't surprise me at all if there is a direct link from cell phones to brain tumors. It sounds morbid but all the technology that we have advancing with has not been around long enough for us to truly understand all of the side effects that it can bring.

We keep these mobile devices right next to our head and then store them in our pockets next to our most sacred of body parts so is this really a smart move for our society? I think that we have yet to really see what this technology means for us and how it will affect generations to come.

CoffeeJim

@sammyG is right about the output power of our modern cellphones not being very strong. While back in the first exploratory days of cell phone use there were systems that could output upwards of 5 watts of power. Now those signal rates have dropped to well below a watt and usually are somewhere around a few hundred milliwatts of transmitting power.

If you were using an old, two-piece style cell phone that people used to keep in the trunk of their cars and put it directly next to your head during a phone call then maybe your brain would get microwaved a bit but even then there are no conclusive studies to actually support this notion.

sammyG

While I have yet to come across it and I highly doubt that it exists, there are no conclusive studies in the scientific community that have made a link to the exposure of electromagnetic fields and cancer.

Our human intuition that such powerful energy would give us the impression of a correlation between cell phones and brain cancer but it simply does not seem to be the case.

I think this is due to the fact that most mobile handsets available to consumers on the market today are simply not very powerful. Because of the expansion of the cellular networks in the United States and the use of newer digital signal technology, there is not a need for high powered hand held devices.

motherteresa

In 2007 a Japanese study and a British study both concluded that there is no link between brain cancer and the use of cell phones.

But of course there are other studies with different results. A Swedish study in 2006 found an increased likelihood of developing brain tumors when using the cell phone.

I think we will have more conclusive results only after cell phones have been with us for a much longer period.

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