Do Cell Phones Give You Cancer?

Innocente Marcolini was a high-profile financial manager from Northern Italy, who spent 6 hours every day talking on his cell phone with colleagues and clients He kept this up for 12 years, until one morning he noticed a strange tingling sensation in the side of his face

Innocente was diagnosed with a brain tumour Even more shocking was that the tumour was located in the trigeminal nerve, which is a part of the brain located right next to the ear – the exact spot where Innocente had held his phone to his face for the past 12 years Innocente had life-saving surgery to remove the tumour, and took his case to Italy’s Supreme Court In 2012, Innocente made medical history when the court ruled that that cell phones can give you cancer But Mr Marcolini’s cancer is not an isolated incident Many people from around the world believe the same thing happened to them, because they used their phones too often: In 2009, road surface engineer Andrew Heath developed a tumour in his jaw In 2013, sales manager Neil Whitfield developed a tumour in his ear And Tiffany Frantz in 2011: breast cancer, after keeping her cell phone in her bra for 5 years

Cell phone usage in the US has increased from 34 million to 203 million That means 90% of Americans now own a cell phone, and worldwide it’s estimated that 2 billion people own a mobile device On average we spend anywhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours on our phones every single day That means around 4 years of our life is now spent on the phone – but how much do we really know about them, and could they be damaging our health? Some scientists believe that the electromagnetic radiation transmitted from mobile devices and cell phone masts pose a serious risk to our health The data from our phones is carried in radio waves and then transmitted to the nearest masts

Which means that on their journey from your phone to the base station, some of those radio waves are absorbed into your body tissue When these waves are absorbed, they are turned into energy, which adds to the energy that your body’s metabolism is already producing This could be bad news if your cell phone has a high absorption rate, because your body will be absorbing higher levels of radiation But unlike ionizing radiation, like gamma rays and x-rays, radio waves are not known to damage the DNA in our cells, which is why there’s so much debate over the issue of cell phones and cancer So, what’s the scientific verdict? In 2014, the University of Bordeaux published a study which concluded that people who use their phones for more than 15 hours a month, are 3 times more likely to develop brain and spine tumours, like gliomas and meningiomas

In 2010 a large international study, called ‘Interphone’, published the mobile phone usage of 6000 people across 13 countries Their results showed no link between cell phones and brain tumours – except in the 10% of people who use their phones the most But the largest ever study to have been conducted on the correlation between cancer and mobile phone use found out something quite different The Million Women Study researched 790,000 women, and looked for an increase in brain tumours and 18 other different kinds of cancer – but found no link to cell phones whatsoever But despite their discrepancies, all of the studies feared for the safety of children with mobile phones

Children are more vulnerable to the potential dangers of cell phones, because their brain and nervous system are still developing Which is worrying, because 70% of 11 year-olds now own a cell phone The academic community may not have resolved the issue right now, but the leading cancer research organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified cell phones as a ‘possible’ carcinogen Lots of scientists believe that because cell phones are a new invention, there is still a lot for us to learn about these gadgets In other words, it’s impossible to definitively prove health risks associated with long-term cell phone use, when they’ve only been around for such a short period of time

So, mobile phones haven’t been proven to cause cancer – yet Brain tumours take years to develop, so who knows what findings we’ll uncover in the next 10 or 20 years As heavy cell phone use persists, we might very well see a climb in tumour incidence rates, but not for several more decades Only time will tell the real carcinogenic threat of cellular phones

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