Children and adolescent mobile phone users found at no greater risk of brain cancer than non-users

August 3, 2011

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Children and adolescents who use mobile phones are not at a statistically significant increased risk of brain cancer compared to their peers who do not use mobile phones, researchers at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland, have found.

The researchers looked at the medical records of children aged 7–19 with brain tumors, identified through population registries. Researchers did face-to-face interviews with them regarding their mobile phone usage. They also consulted data from phone network providers.

The study was conducted between 2004 and 2008 and included participants from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. The researchers looked at data for 352 brain cancer patients, and 646 control subjects.

The researchers found that patients with brain tumors were not statistically significantly more likely to have been regular mobile phone users than control subjects. They found that 265 (75.3%) of case patients and 466 control subjects (72.1%) reported having spoken on a mobile phone more than 20 times before the time when the case patient was diagnosed.

In addition, 194 case patients (55%) and 329 control subjects (51%) reported regular mobile phone usage. However, in a subset of study participants for whom operator recorded data were available, brain tumor risk was related to the time elapsed since the mobile phone subscription was started (but not to amount of use). No increased risk of brain tumors was observed for brain areas receiving the highest amount of exposure.

Ref.: John D. Boice, Jr. and Robert E. Tarone, Cell Phones, Cancer, and Children, Journal of The National Cancer Institute, July 27, 2011; [DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djr285]

Ref.: Denis Aydin, et al., Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Children and Adolescents: A Multicenter Case–Control Study, Journal of The National Cancer Institute, July 27, 2011 [DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djr244]