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Cancer risk from phones 'unlikely'

4th July 2011

The Institute of Cancer Research has said a review it has carried out has suggested that there is no connection between using mobile phones and brain cancer.

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The review said that despite the prevalence of mobile phones there had been no concurrent rise in the amount of brain tumours.

The report, which was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, also found errors in many studies which found links between mobile phones and cancer.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in May that mobile phones were "possibly carcinogenic".

The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to place mobile phones in the same division as coffee, in which connections with cancer could not be dismissed, but could also not be proved.

One of the largest studies into a connection between cancer and mobiles was Interphone, which compared 2,708 people with brain tumours with around the same number of people who did not have tumours.

The study found that heavy mobile users had an increased risk of brain cancer. However Professor Anthony Swerdlow, from the Institute of Cancer Research, said there was a danger of "bias" when people with brain tumours completed questionnaires about how they used mobiles.

Professor Swerdlow said: "The trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults."

Cancer Research UK's Dr Joanna Owens said: "Although these researchers admit that we can't entirely rule out the idea of a link between mobile phones and brain cancer, they remind us that in most of the research, including their large international study, mobile phone users don't seem to be at increased risk."

 

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