Extended mobile phone use does not increase brain tumour risk

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Largest study to date concludes that using a mobile phone for extended periods is not linked with an increased risk of brain cancer.

Each new generation of mobile technology has triggered questions about the potential risk to the health of users, especially the development of intracranial tumours such as glioma, meningioma and acoustic neuroma. Previous studies have investigated these questions, but there have been well-known problems with the trial design and conflicting conclusions.

Now, the world’s largest multinational long-term follow-up study specifically designed to investigate the potential health risks of mobile phone use has concluded that longer mobile phone use is not associated with an increased risk of developing brain tumours.

The COSMOS study was designed to overcome previous study issues and followed more than 250,000 people to investigate if the use of mobile phones increases the risk of developing brain tumours over time.

Phone users in the UK, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden answered detailed questions about their mobile use (supported with network operator information) and were followed in cancer registries to see if they developed brain tumours.

The occurrence of brain tumours among the 10% of people who spent the most hours on a mobile phone was not significantly different from those who used the mobile phone much less.

Dr Karen Noble, our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, said: “Mobile phone use and brain tumour risk has long been a question for many in our community, and it is reassuring to now have a robust answer which I’m sure will be welcomed by many nationwide.

However, the causes of brain tumours are still largely unknown, and much more research and investment are needed to unravel the origins of all types of brain tumours in order to get us closer to a cure.”

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