Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Data Caps Brain Cancer Concerns

Cedit: pathdoc/Adobe

Cedit: pathdoc/Adobe

By Mark Elwood & Stella Kim

Extensive health data records in New Zealand have revealed whether brain cancer rates have changed as a result of radiation emitted by mobile phones.

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There have long been fears in the community about whether the use of mobile phones could lead to an increase in the frequency of brain tumours. However, our analysis of data collected by The New Zealand Cancer Registry between 1995 and 2010 has found that the risk of developing a brain tumour has not changed significantly despite the increased use of mobile phones during that time.

In fact, for those aged 10–69 years there has been a decrease of about 1% per year. In people aged over 70 years there was an increase in some types of brain cancer, but this has been seen in other countries and is likely to be due to improved diagnosis.

Our study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (www.tinyurl.com/ptynwqe), adds to existing evidence against a substantially increased risk in mobile phone users, and is consistent with most similar studies conducted in other countries. However, a study of this type cannot exclude the possibility of a small risk, or a risk limited to a certain subtype of cancers, or a risk that only arises after more than 15 years of phone use.

Put that way, our research results sound pretty simple and straightforward, but reaching those conclusions took a great deal of thought and hard work.

Stella had completed the 3 years...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.