International study: No clear connection between mobile phone use and brain cancer

The study on the possible connection between mobile phone use and the risk of a malignant brain tumour, glioma, was carried out in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and England. The study showed that mobile phone users were not at an increased risk of developing a glioma.

Regular use of a mobile phone, duration of use, or the cumulative number of calls had no effect on the risk. The only indication of a potential effect was found among mobile phone users who had used a mobile phone for at least 10 years. They were found to have a slightly increased risk of a tumour on the side of the head on which they held the phone. Information on mobile phone use was collected using personal interviews. There is always a risk of error associated with recall, which affects the reliability of the results.

The research data from the participating countries was analysed by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). Funding for the study in Finland was provided by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Academy of Finland and Doctoral Programs for Public Health (DPPH).

The most extensive study so far

The study data collected between 2000 and 2004 included 1,521 glioma patients and 3,301 healthy controls. The number of people who had used a mobile phone for longer than 10 years was higher (222) than in previous studies.

“Even though the results do not indicate that mobile phone use increases the risk of cancer, we need more research data on long-term use,” says Anssi Auvinen, Research Professor at the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

The completion of an extensive international study (INTERPHONE) on the connection between the use of mobile phone and brain tumour based on data collected in 14 countries is expected in the future.

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