Cell Phone Use Increases Risk of Brain Tumors according to Swedish Study

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Using a cell phone or a cordless phone for one year increased an individual’s risk for glioma, a type of brain or spine tumor, by 30 to 40%, according to a Swedish study published in Pathophysiology. The tumors were most commonly found on the side of the head on which the individual held the phone and in the temporal lobe (right behind a person’s ear). Study participants who talked more than 1,486 hours on cell or cordless phones were twice as likely to develop glioma as those who used cell or cordless phones for less than 122 hours. People who used cordless phones for 25 years tripled their risk of glioma.

The study concluded that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) were most likely the cause of the tumors because the electromagnetic fields may disrupt the ability of brain cells to repair damaged DNA or may cause gene mutations. The study said that children are at a higher risk because their skulls are thinner.

Study author, Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, Professor of Oncology and Cancer Epidemiology at the University Hospital in Örebro, Sweden, stated, “You should worry, and you should avoid further exposure.” The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic.”

Hardell recommends that people use the phones’ speaker function or headphones (not Bluetooth devices) to keep the cell and cordless phones away from their heads while making calls; and texting instead of calling when possible.

However, the National Cancer Institute, in its “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk” Fact Sheet, stated, “Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck.” According to a 2010 study published in Neuro-Oncology, Americans’ use of cell phones tripled between 2000 and 2010 but there was no rise in the cancers that could have been caused by RF-EMF emitted by cell phones.


Ronnie Cohen, “Are Wireless Phones Linked with Brain Cancer Risk?,” www.reuters.com, Nov. 11, 2014

John Fischer, “Brain Tumors and Cell Phone Use Found to Be Linked (Again),” www.medicaldaily.com, Nov. 12, 2014

Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg, “Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and the Risk for Glioma – Analysis of Pooled Case-Control Studies in Sweden, 1997-2003,” www.pathophysiologyjournal.com, Oct. 29, 2014

Markham Heid, “Another Study Links Cell Phones to Brain Tumors. Should You Be Worried?,” www.prevention.com, Nov. 2014

Peter D. Inskip, Robert N. Hoover, and Susan S. Devesa, “Brain Cancer Incidence Trends in Relation to Cellular Telephone Use in the United States,” www.neuro-oncology.oxfordjournals.org, July 16, 2010

National Cancer Institute, “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk,” www.cancer.gov, June 24, 2013