The possibility that cellphones cause brain cancer is one of those things that feels like it’s been hanging over our heads, as a society, for many years. If you ask a random person if they believe that their cellphone is giving them a brain tumor, a common response would be, “I dunno, probably.” And they’ll keep talking on their device.
It seems like we’ve just accepted it as a possibility. A report comes out saying there’s a probable link between the two. And that same report gets repeated and passed off as “another report” a year down the road.
But it’s not like the possibility of brain tumors caused by cellphone radiation has prevented the use of cellphones. Even people who think that their device might be giving them cancer are most of the time unable to put down the device. We need them too much. It’s just how today’s society runs.
So here’s some good news: According to an incredibly large Danish study, your cellphones is not giving you brain tumors.
A study published in the British Medical Journal sought to “investigate the risk of tumors in the central nervous system” among Danish mobile subscribers.
Their sample size was 358,403 over the course of 18 years – totaling over 3.8 million total hours. Here’s some of the sciencey results –
The risk of such tumours was close to unity for both men and women. When restricted to individuals with the longest mobile phone use—that is, ≥13 years of subscription—the incidence rate ratio was 1.03 (95% confidence interval 0.83 to 1.27) in men and 0.91 (0.41 to 2.04) in women. Among those with subscriptions of ≥10 years, ratios were 1.04 (0.85 to 1.26) in men and 1.04 (0.56 to 1.95) in women for glioma and 0.90 (0.57 to 1.42) in men and 0.93 (0.46 to 1.87) in women for meningioma.
Conclusion: In this update of a large nationwide cohort study of mobile phone use, there were no increased risks of tumours of the central nervous system, providing little evidence for a causal association.
Hazel Nunn, head of evidence and health information at Cancer Research UK, told the BBC, “These results are the strongest evidence yet that using a mobile phone does not seem to increase the risk of cancers of the brain or central nervous system in adults.”
Of course, I’m no scientist. And one study cannot entirely put an issue to bed. But this is a giant sample size monitored over the course of nearly two decades. Whatever you think, this is some pretty strong evidence that your cellphone is not killing you – at least not with a tumor anyways.