Mobile phone link deniedBrain tumours and mobiles: no link.

20 January 2006

Using a mobile phone does not lead to an increased risk of brain tumours, according to the largest ever study on the subject.

But scientists say that as mobile phones have only been in widespread use for about 10 years, the long-term effects are still unknown.

The four year study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at 966 people with the most common type of brain tumour alongside more than 1700 healthy volunteers.

The two groups were interviewed about their use of mobile phones in the past, such as how long they had used them, how often they made calls and for how long, and on which side of their head they held the phone.

Scientists from the Universities of Leeds, Nottingham and Manchester and the Institute of Cancer Research in London, found that those who reported regularly using mobile phones were not at a greater overall risk of developing brain tumours.

Public concern

They also found no link between using a mobile phone in rural areas and an increased risk of tumours, a link which had been suggested in an earlier Swedish study.

Professor Patricia McKinney, professor of paediatric epidemiology at Leeds University, said that there was public concern about the effect of mobile phones and tumours, but this was not backed up in their study.

'Our study can only evaluate relatively short-term use with confidence because the majority of people in our study had used mobile phones for less than 10 years.'

'Future studies will be able to address the risks of longer term use, but we found no evidence of increased risks in the short to medium term.'

Cases of brain tumours have been increasing in the past 30 years, with between 4,000 and 4,500 cases a year.

But Professor McKinney said while cases were rising by between 2 per cent and 3 per cent a year, part of the reason for this could be better ways of detecting tumours.

Related links
Mobile phone overview