Mobiles don't raise tumour risk, says studyIt's first study on radiation in parts of brain

06 February 2008

A close-up of a young woman using her mobile phone.

Mobile phone use does not lead to a greater risk of brain tumours, according to a new study released today.

In the first study to consider the effects of radiation levels in different parts of the brain, researchers found that regular mobile phone users were not at an increased risk of three types of brain cancer.

They assessed levels of radiation in terms of the number of years since a mobile was first used, the average number of hours spent on the phone each day and which parts of the brain were most likely to be affected.

Journal of Cancer

The Japanese scientists, writing in the British Journal of Cancer, compared the history of mobile phone use in 322 brain cancer patients with 683 healthy people in Tokyo.

They found that regularly using a mobile phone did not significantly affect their risk of getting brain cancer.

Lead author, Professor Naohito Yamaguchi, based at Tokyo Women's Medical University, said: ‘We studied the radiation emitted from various types of mobile phones and placed them into one of four categories relating to radiation strength. We then analysed how they would affect different areas of the brain areas, taking into account the organ's complex structure.

‘Using our newly developed and more accurate techniques, we found no association between mobile phone use and cancer, providing more evidence to suggest they don't cause brain cancer.’

Mobile use

The use of mobile phones has rapidly increased since the 1980s but studies have shown that in this time the number of people with brain cancer has hardly changed.

Although a few studies have shown an association between mobile phones and cancer, the majority found no link. The largest study to date, involving 420,000 people, showed no link with any type of cancer, even after 10 years of use.

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information, said: ‘So far, studies have shown no evidence that mobile use is harmful, but we can't be completely sure about their long-term effects. Research is still ongoing and Cancer Research UK will continue to look for new evidence.’

The government recommends that mobile users keep their call times short. And children under the age of 16 should only use mobile phones for essential calls, because their head and nervous systems may still be developing.