Sunday 22 September 2019

Fresh mobile phone fears over rise in brain cancers

Stock photo
Stock photo

Henry Bodkin

Fresh fears have been raised over the role of mobile phones in brain cancer after evidence revealed rates of a malignant type of tumour have doubled in the past two decades.

Charities and scientists in the UK called for more attention to be paid to long-standing warnings about dangers of radiation after a fresh analysis revealed a more "alarming" trend in cancers than previously thought.

However, the study, published in the 'Journal of Public Health and Environment', has stoked controversy, with some experts saying it could be caused by other factors.

The research team set out to investigate the rise of an aggressive and often fatal type of brain tumour known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

They analysed 79,241 malignant brain tumours over 21 years, finding cases of GBM in England have increased from around 1,250 a year in 1995 to just under 3,000. The scientists at the Physicians' Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE) in the UK say the increase of GBM has until now been masked by the overall fall in incidence of other types of brain tumour.

The group said the increasing rate of tumours in the frontal temporal lobe "raises the suspicion mobile and cordless phone use may be promoting gliomas".

Professor Denis Henshaw, scientific director of Children with Cancer UK, which is allied to PHIRE, said: "Our findings illustrate the need to look more carefully at, and to try to explain the mechanisms behind, these cancer trends, instead of brushing the causal factors under the carpet and focusing only on cures."

In 2015 a European Commission scientific committee concluded studies on cell phone radiation exposure do not show an increased risk of brain tumours or other head and neck cancers.

Irish Independent

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