Summary: A new study raises questions about the link between cell phone use and an increased risk of developing brain cancer. Researchers found little evidence to suggest the rate of brain cancer incidents has risen in any age group as a result of cell phone usage.
In December 2018, the British Medical Journal Open published a scientific study led by ARPANSA investigating the relationship between brain cancer and mobile phone use.
The study was conducted in partnership with the University of Auckland, Monash University and the University of Wollongong, and looked at brain cancer diagnoses in Australians aged 20-59 between 1982 and 2013. The study found that the wide use of mobile phones in Australia has not increased the rate of brain cancer.
Since the publication of the original study, the authors have conducted further analysis to assess whether there has been an increase in the rate of brain cancer in Australians aged 60 and over during the same time periods.
“Our analysis shows that the rate of brain cancer in people in the 60 plus age group follows a similar pattern as the other age groups we looked at,” said author Dr. Ken Karipidis.
“It shows that there has been no increase in brain cancer rates in Australia that can be attributed to mobile phone use.”
The British Medical Journal Open has published a letter outlining the findings from this additional analysis.
This study provides further evidence that there is no link between mobile phone use and brain cancer and makes an important contribution to the body of knowledge on this topic.
Press Office – ARPANSA
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Original Research: Open access
“Mobile phone use and incidence of brain tumour histological types, grading or anatomical location: a population-based ecological study”. Ken Karipidis, et al.
BMJ Open doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024489.
Mobile phone use and incidence of brain tumour histological types, grading or anatomical location: a population-based ecological study
Some studies have reported increasing trends in certain brain tumours and a possible link with mobile phone use has been suggested. We examined the incidence time trends of brain tumour in Australia for three distinct time periods to ascertain the influence of improved diagnostic technologies and increase in mobile phone use on the incidence of brain tumours.
In a population-based ecological study, we examined trends of brain tumour over the periods 1982–1992, 1993–2002 and 2003–2013. We further compared the observed incidence during the period of substantial mobile phone use (2003–2013) with predicted (modelled) incidence for the same period by applying various relative risks, latency periods and mobile phone use scenarios.
Setting National Australian
incidence registration data on primary cancers of the brain diagnosed between 1982 and 2013.
16 825 eligible brain cancer cases aged 20–59 from all of Australia (10 083 males and 6742 females).
Main outcome measures
Annual percentage change (APC) in brain tumour incidence based on Poisson regression analysis.
The overall brain tumour rates remained stable during all three periods. There was an increase in glioblastoma during 1993–2002 (APC 2.3, 95% CI 0.8 to 3.7) which was likely due to advances in the use of MRI during that period. There were no increases in any brain tumour types, including glioma (−0.6, –1.4 to 0.2) and glioblastoma (0.8, –0.4 to 2.0), during the period of substantial mobile phone use from 2003 to 2013. During that period, there was also no increase in glioma of the temporal lobe (0.5, –1.3 to 2.3), which is the location most exposed when using a mobile phone. Predicted incidence rates were higher than the observed rates for latency periods up to 15 years.
In Australia, there has been no increase in any brain tumour histological type or glioma location that can be attributed to mobile phones.