Brussels, 03 Feb 2004
People who have used a mobile phone for 10 years are no more likely than short term users to develop cancer as a result, according to the first results of the most authoritative study so far undertaken to look for a link.
The recently published research was carried out in Denmark, and forms part of the INTERPHONE study, coordinated by the international agency for research on cancer (IARC). The study is the largest of its kind, involving close to 8,000 cancer sufferers and 10,000 control subjects in 13 countries across Europe and the rest of the world.
The INTERPHONE project aims to conclude definitively whether regular mobile phone use can lead to the development of cancerous tumours in the brain. The reason that this study is considered so authoritative is that it aims to involve every person who develops certain target tumours, in the case of the Danish study, acoustic neuroma, and then assess their mobile phone use in order to identify a link.
This will be achieved primarily through interviews with the patients, but will also draw on information from mobile phone company records, and take into account technical information on the characteristics of the network and handset used by each individual. The studies will mainly focus on relatively young cancer sufferers, aged between 30 and 59, as they have the highest instance of mobile phone use during the last decade.
Having applied this methodology, the team of Danish researchers concluded that: 'Use of a cell phone for 10 years or more did not increase acoustic neuroma risk over that of short term users. Furthermore, tumours did not occur more frequently on the side of the head on which the telephone was typically used.
'The results of this prospective, population based nationwide study, which included a large number of long term users of cellular telephones, do not support an association between cell phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma,' they added.
Further results from other countries involved in the INTERPHONE study are expected to appear during 2004, with the first overall conclusions expected towards the end of the year. It will be some time, however, before researchers can say once and for all that mobile phones pose no long term health risks, as too few people have been using mobiles for long enough to make such a conclusion provable.