Australian study sees no link between cell phones and brain cancer

Someone called Derva Davis made waves across Australia earlier this year with an alarmist campaign to convince people that cities where cell phone use was high had greater incidences of disease such as brain cancer. Now a researcher who was at the time working on a research paper specifically looking at the link between

mobile phone

use in Australia and brain cancer has published his paper and is able to talk about the results.

The paper looked at the association between age and gender of people diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia between 1982 and 2012 along with national mobile phone use data between 1987 and 2012. The paper authors say that "extremely high proportions" of the popularity have used mobile phones for over 20 years. Looking at age-adjusted brain cancer rates in people ages 20-84 years old over 100,000 people found that incidence of brain cancer has risen slightly in males by have been stable in females for 30 years.

The study did find significant increases in brain cancer incidences in people 70 years old or more, but the study found that the increase in brain cancer rates in that age group began in 1982, before mobile phones were introduced in 1987. The study concluded that the most likely explanation for this increase in cancer diagnosis was improved diagnostic methods.

The team took a conservative estimate that mobile phones would cause a 50% increase in incidence of brain cancer from a study conducted by Lennart Hardell and colleagues. Basing the cancer rate off that number, in 2012 the authors of the new study claim there would need to be 1866 cases of brain cancer, but there were only 1435 recorded. The team points out that studies of a similar nature conducted in the US, England, New Zealand and other Nordic countries also found no link between phone use and brain cancer.


The Conversation