Mobile Phone Usage Linked To Cancer and Growth of Brain Tumors
An ongoing and peer-reviewed US government-funded research of rats reveal a possible link between mobile phone usage and cancer.
The report on the study remains incomplete but the partial findings released by the US National Toxicology Program is expected to have wide-ranging implications on the seemingly endless debate over the possible heath impact of mobile phone radiation on users' health.
"Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health," the statement from study reads as quoted by NewsTalk.
The experiments involved the exposure of rodents to the radiofrequency radiation emitted by mobile handsets. The initial results suggest that male rats subjected to heavy doses of constant mobile phone radiation develop brain and heart tumors. Such results, however, are in contrast to the effect of radiation on female rats. Researchers say that female rats appeared unaffected by radiation. Even those with tumors seemed to have outlived the rats that weren't exposed to radiation.
The scientists at the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are still analyzing the results of their experiment. But since the researchers regard the partial findings as significant, NIH decided to give the scientists the green light to publish a report on the matter.
"This is a striking example of why serious study is so important in evaluating cancer risk. It's interesting to note that early studies on the link between lung cancer and smoking had similar resistance, since theoretical arguments at the time suggested that there could not be a link," remarked Dr.Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society as quoted by NBC News.
According to American Cancer Society, brain tumors are quite rare. In fact, there are about 23,770 malignant brain or spinal cord tumor cases predicted to be diagnosed this year and 16, 000 patients are projected to die from them. However, there has been no reported dramatic surge in tumor cases since the 90's when people started to use mobile phones.
There are billions of cellphone users around the world and 92% of American adults reportedly own a handset. But the partial results of NIH-led study elicited mixed reactions from medical experts. So far, no studies could reliably establish a direct link between cancer and mobile phone usage.
"I am unable to accept the authors' conclusions," said Dr Michael Lauer of NIH's office of extra-mural research as mentioned in a report by News.Com.Au. "I suspect that this experiment is substantially underpowered and that the few positive results found reflect false positive findings."