Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Phone-tumour link tenuous

Research has failed to establish any clear link between use of the mobile and cordless phones and several kinds of cancer. -- BH FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON - STUDIES on whether mobile phones can cause cancer, especially brain tumours, vary widely in quality and there may be some bias in those showing the least risk, researchers reported on Tuesday.

So far it is difficult to demonstrate any link, although the best studies do suggest some association between mobile phone use and cancer, the team led by Dr Seung-Kwon Myung of South Korea's National Cancer Centre found.

Dr Myung and colleagues at Ewha Womans University and Seoul National University Hospital in Seoul and the University of California, Berkeley, examined 23 published studies of more than 37,000 people in what is called a meta-analysis. They found results often depended on who conducted the study and how well they controlled for bias and other errors.

The use of mobile and cordless phones has exploded in the past 10 years to an estimated 4.6 billion subscribers worldwide, according to the UN International Telecommunication Union. Research has failed to establish any clear link between use of the devices and several kinds of cancer.

The latest study, supported in part by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, examined cases involving brain tumours and others including tumours of the facial nerves, salivary glands and testicles as well as non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

It found no significant association between the risk of tumours and overall use of mobile phones, including cellular and cordless phones. -- REUTERS

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