Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cell phones cause cancer?

These rumors have been flying around for years. Over the past ten years or so (maybe even longer than that), study after study has been released that proves or disproves the assertion that cell phones cause cancer. The latest study has been done in the UK. This is actually an interesting article from BBC News.
The long-term cancer risk of mobile phone use cannot be ruled out, experts have concluded. A major six-year research programme found a "hint" of a higher cancer risk.

But the UK Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHRP) did rule out short-term adverse effects to brain and cell function.

Researchers are now expanding the programme to look at phone use over 10 years, and the specific impact on children, which has not been studied.
Research is a funny business in that if you don't like the result, you either extend out the time of the study until you get the result that you want. Or, you amplify the very small results that you have and hypothesize the results that you really wanted in the first place.

In this article, since the six year data didn't get them their result, the article states things like "Cancers do not normally appear until ten to 15 years after exposure." I also love this quote, "With smoking there was no link of any lung cancer until after ten years." Here is the key passage to the entire article:
The team found that there was a slight excess reporting of brain and acoustic neuroma (ear) cancers. Researchers said this was on the borderline of statistical significance.
Translation: "Borderline of statistical significance" means no statistical significance. So, at this point in time, this study failed to make the connection between cell phone use and cancer. The debate will definitely continue. But for now, feel free to continue using that cell phone! But, please, be careful text messaging while driving.


Your Mother said...

Don't you mean "DON'T" text message while driving? ;)

The internet and wireless gadgets are going to be the new alcohol on the roadway, I think. With the same harsh penalties, I hope.

Parlancheq said...

They better find a link between cell phones and cancer, because pharma already has a pill to treat cellphonular carcinoma in R&D. :)

SeaSpray said...

I really hate that this happens. I have talked on my cell but rarely.
It's just not worth it!

I also think it is very selfish. I usually leave mine off and then check when I stop.

Although, I have done make-up so I am no saint either. so i am just as guilty of being selfish.

Yet, texting? Not a good idea- too much concentration required.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

funny thing about this, i used to keep mine in my bra until i got breast cancer. now i don't. hmmm?

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

Ref: Hand washing in public restrooms: Wash hands with soap and then turn off water by touching unsanitary faucet, touching the automatic dryer if there is one, touching the door knob to go out. Seems as if it wouldn't do too much good, since those same people who DIDN'T wash their hands, touched some of these same things.

My remedy: It may sound too neat-nice, but I use a paper towel to turn the faucet back off. then use the towel to dispence a clean one and then after drying my hands, I grab another one to open the door. I really feel safer that way and it doesn't take much more time.

JEH said...

I would like to say that I strongly agree with your statement “research is a funny business in that if you don't like the result, you either extend out the time of the study until you get the result that you want.” I find this to be very true within our present society. People do want to confirm that cellular phones do cause cancer, just as many had stated that plastic bottles cause cancer as well! Both are myths; however people never seem to be satisfied with the research results that are primarily conducted by these higher institutions. I can understand how they do not want to make a definite conclusion since previous studies associated with lung cancer and smoking did not appear until ten years later. However, it is interesting to note that a team found “slight excess reporting of brain and ear cancer” that were on the “borderline of statistical significance.” Again, I agree with your translation of this statement which basically means “no statistical significance.” It is great to know that a physician is able to justify and clarify these concerning recent issues since they are so relevant in our American health care system.

Anonymous said...

Just had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from EXACTLY where my cell phone rests on my left ear.

"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean their not out to get me..." HST