Canadian Study Finds Cell Phone Use Increases Risk For Brain Cancer


Major Canadian Study Finds Cell Phone Use

Increases Risk For Brain Cancer

American Journal of Epidemiology publishes new analysis which finds a doubling of brain cancer in persons using cell phones over 558 hours

A newly published report in the American Journal of Epidemiology just released this week, confirms that Canadians who have used cellphones for 558 hours or more have more than a doubled risk of brain cancer. These important findings strengthen the association between glioma, an aggressive brain cancer, and cell phone use.

Cell Phone Use Increases Risk For Brain CancerThe original 13-nation Interphone study for the International Agency for the Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization reported reported a 40% increase in brain cancer for those using phones for 1640 lifetime hours. This new study found that Canadians had more than a doubled glioma risk when they were analyzed apart from the 12 other countries.

“This study adds more evidence linking cell phone use with brain cancer. We believe the criteria has been met for radio frequency radiation to be classified as a probable human carcinogen. Governments need to take immediate action to inform the public and enact protective policies, ” stated  Dr. Anthony Miller, a senior advisor to the World Health Organization and scientific advisor the the Environmental Health Trust. Miller recently presented a review of the current peer reviewed science linking phone radiation to cancer at an international conference on Wireless and Health at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies  organized in cooperation with the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and Environmental Health Trust.

“Governments have allowed this technology to pervade our lives saying it did not have proof it could harm us. We now have evidence from the latest  Canadian Interphone study data that found a statistically significant doubling of risk for glioma among cell phone users with only 558 lifetime hours of use.

How long will it take a teenager to amass 558 hours of cell phone use?

At the same time, 5G is rolling out. Not only will 5G utilize cell phone frequencies but it will also incorporate new millimeter waves which are already used at a greater power as military weapons. How can this 5 G rollout continue in light of the scientific evidence we have before us?Dr. Devra Davis, President and founder of Environmental Health Trust


Momoli F, Siemiatycki J, McBride ML, Parent MÉ, Richardson L, Bedard D, Platt R, Vrijheid M, Cardis E, Krewski D. Probabilistic multiple-bias modelling applied to the Canadian data from the INTERPHONE study of mobile phone use and risk of glioma, meningioma, acoustic neuroma, and parotid gland tumors. Am J Epidemiol. 2017 May 23. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx157. [Epub ahead of print]


We undertook a re-analysis of the Canadian data from the thirteen-country INTERPHONE case-control study (2001-2004), which evaluated the association between mobile phone use and risk of brain, acoustic neuroma, and parotid gland tumors. The main publication of the multinational INTERPHONE study concluded that “biases and errors prevent a causal interpretation”. We applied a probabilistic multiple-bias model to address possible biases simultaneously, using validation data from billing records and non-participant questionnaires as information on recall error and selective participation. Our modelling sought to adjust for these sources of uncertainty and to facilitate interpretation. For glioma, the odds ratio comparing highest quartile of use (over 558 lifetime hours) to non-regular users was 2.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.2, 3.4). The odds ratio was 2.2 (95% confidence interval: 1.3, 4.1) when adjusted for selection and recall biases. There was little evidence of an increase in the risk of meningioma, acoustic neuroma, or parotid gland tumors in relation to mobile phone use. Adjustments for selection and recall biases did not materially affect interpretation in our Canadian results.

Additional Resources

Epidemiology of Cell Phones and Other Wireless Transmitting Devices – An Update

Lecture  BY Dr. Anthony Miller PDF of Dr. Anthony Miller January 25, 2017 IIAS Presentation

Expert Forum on Wireless and Health  Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Videos of Lectures and Presentation Slides

Environmental Health Trust’s database of worldwide policies on cell phone radiation and health.



Carlberg, Michael and Lennart Hardell. “Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2017, 2017.

When considered vis a vis deductive public health principles, the combined evidence from epidemiology and laboratory studies indicate that meningioma and glioma in the temporal lobe can be considered to be caused by cumulative RF radiation exposure. Experimental findings that RF increases production of reactive oxygen species suggest a potential mechanism.

Prasad, M., et al. “Mobile phone use and risk of brain tumours: a systematic review of association between study quality, source of funding, and research outcomes.” Neurological Sciences, 2017.

Studies with higher quality are more likely to find higher risk of brain tumour, while lower quality studies tend to indicate lower risk/protection

Grell, Kathrine, et al. “The Intracranial Distribution of Gliomas in Relation to Exposure From Mobile Phones: Analyses From the INTERPHONE Study.” American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 184, no. 11 2016, pp. 818-28.

Similar to earlier results, we found a statistically significant association between the intracranial distribution of gliomas and the self-reported location of the phone. When we accounted for the preferred side of the head not being exclusively used for all mobile phone calls, the results were similar.

Hardell, Lennart and Michael Carlberg. “Mobile phone and cordless phone use and the risk for glioma–Analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997–2003 and 2007–2009.” Pathophysiology, vol. 22, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-13.

Mobile phone and cordless phone use increased the risk of glioma, with highest risk in the >15–20 years latency group Highest ORs overall were found for ipsilateral mobile or cordless phone use, while the highest risk was found for glioma in the temporal lobe. First use of mobile or cordless phone before the age of 20 gave higher OR for glioma than in later age groups.

Carlberg, Michael and Lennart Hardell. “Decreased survival of glioma patients with astrocytoma grade IV (glioblastoma multiforme) associated with long-term use of mobile and cordless phones.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 11, no. 10, 2014, pp. 10790-805.

Elevated HR (decreased survival) for the most malignant glioma type, astrocytoma grade IV, was found for long-term use of mobile and cordless phones. Highest HR was found for cases with first use before the age of 20 years.

Coureau, Gaëlle, et al. “Mobile phone use and brain tumours in the CERENAT case-control study.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 71, no. 7, 2014, pp. 514-22.

No association with brain tumours was observed when comparing regular mobile phone users with non-users, however, the positive association was statistically significant in the heaviest users when considering life-long cumulative duration and number of calls for gliomas. Risks were higher for gliomas, temporal tumours, occupational and urban mobile phone use.

Absorbed Exposures to Anatomical Regions of the Brain and Increased Brain Cancer Incidence Rates

Zada, Gabriel, et al. “Incidence trends in the anatomic location of primary malignant brain tumors in the United States: 1992–2006.” World neurosurgery, vol. 77, no. 3, 2012, pp. 518-24.

Data from 3 major cancer registries demonstrate increased incidences of glioblastoma multiforme in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and cerebellum, despite decreased incidences in other brain regions. Although this may represent an effect of diagnostic bias, the incidence of both large and small tumors increased in these regions.

Cardis, Elisabeth, et al. “Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 68, no. 9, 2011, pp. 631-40.

Authors found suggestions of an increased risk of glioma in long-term mobile phone users with high RF exposure and of similar, but apparently much smaller, increases in meningioma risk.

Schwann Cell Cancers

Moon et al. “Association between vestibular schwannomas and mobile phone use.” Tumour Biology, vol. 35, no. 1, 2014, pp. 581-7 .

Acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas) occur more frequently on used ear of mobile phones and tumor volume showed a strong correlation with amount of mobile phone use.

Benson, V.S., et al. “Mobile phone use and risk of brain neoplasms and other cancers: prospective study.” International Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 42, no. 3, 2013, pp. 792-802.

Acoustic neuromas were 2 1/2 times more likely in long term users compared to never users (10+ years: RR = 2.46, 95% CI = 1.07-5.64, P = 0.03), with the risk increasing with duration of use (trend among users, P = 0.03).

Hardell, et al. “Pooled analysis of case-control studies on acoustic neuroma diagnosed 1997-2003 and 2007-2009 and use of mobile and cordless phones.” International Journal of Oncology, vol. 43, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1036-44.

This study confirmed previous results demonstrating an association between mobile and cordless phone use and acoustic neuroma.

Hardell, L., M. Carlberg and Mild K. Hansson. “Use of mobile phones and cordless phones is associated with increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma.” Pathophysiology, vol. 20, no. 2, 2012, pp. 85-110.

Regarding acoustic neuroma, ipsilateral mobile phone use in the latency group ≥10 years gave OR=1.81, 95% CI=0.73-4.45. For ipsilateral cumulative use ≥1640 h OR=2.55, 95% CI=1.50-4.40 was obtained. Also use of cordless phones increased the risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma in the Hardell group studies.

Interphone Study Group. “Acoustic neuroma risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study.” Cancer Epidemiology, vol. 35, no. 5, 2011, pp. 453-64.

In general, ORs were not greater in subjects who reported usual phone use on the same side of the head as their tumour than in those who reported it on the opposite side, but it was greater in those in the 10th decile of cumulative hours of use.

Hardell et al. “Mobile phones, cordless phones and the risk for brain tumours.” International Journal of Oncology, vol. 35, no. 1, 2009, pp. 5-17.

For acoustic neuroma, the highest OR was found for ipsilateral use and >10 year latency, for mobile phone OR=3.0, 95% CI=1.4-6.2 and cordless phone OR=2.3, 95% CI=0.6-8.8.

Schoemaker et al. “Mobile phone use and risk of acoustic neuroma: results of the Interphone case-control study in five North European countries.” British Journal of Cancer, vol. 93, no. 7, 2005, pp. 842-8.

Risk of a tumour on the same side of the head as reported phone use was raised for use for 10 years or longer (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.1). The study suggests that there is no substantial risk of acoustic neuroma in the first decade after starting mobile phone use. However, an increase in risk after longer term use or after a longer lag period could not be ruled out.

Lonn et al. “Mobile phone use and the risk of acoustic neuroma.” Epidemiology, vol.15, no. 6, 2004, pp. 653-9

The overall odds ratio for acoustic neuroma associated with regular mobile phone use was 1.0 (95% confidence interval = 0.6-1.5). Ten years after the start of mobile phone use the estimates relative risk increased to 1.9 (0.9-4.1); when restricting to tumors on the same side of the head as the phone was normally used, the relative risk was 3.9 (1.6-9.5).

Thyroid Cancer

Lim et al. “Trends in Thyroid Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the United States, 1974-2013.” JAMA, vol. 317, no. 13, 2017, pp. 1338-48.

Among patients in the United States diagnosed with thyroid cancer from 1974-2013, the overall incidence of thyroid cancer increased 3% annually, with increases in the incidence rate and thyroid cancer mortality rate for advanced-stage papillary thyroid cancer. These findings are consistent with a true increase in the occurrence of thyroid cancer in the United States.

Carlberg, Michael, et al. “Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries with main focus on Swedish data.” BMC Cancer, vol. 16, no. 426, 2016.

The main finding of this register based study was an increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in Sweden during the whole study period 1970–2013 in both women and men, although not statistically significant in men. In both genders the incidence increased during the more recent study period, from 2001 in women and from 2005 in men.

Parotid Gland Cancers

Sadetzki, Siegal, et al. “Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Benign and Malignant Parotid Gland Tumors–A Nationwide Case-Control Study.American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 167, no. 4, 2007, pp. 457-67.

Our results suggest a relation between long-term and heavy cellular phone use and parotid gland tumors. This association was seen in analyses restricted to regular users, analyses of laterality of phone use, and analyses of area of main use.

Cancer and Cancer Promotion

Siqueira, Elisa Carvalho, et al. “Cell phone use is associated with an inflammatory cytokine profile of parotid gland saliva.” Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine, vol. 45, no. 9, 2016, pp. 682-6.

Cell phone exposure was associated with an increased level of IL-1β (a pro-inflammatory cytokine) and decreased IL-10 level (anti-inflammatory cytokine) in the exposed parotid gland saliva .

Sadetzki, Siegal, et al. “The MOBI-Kids Study Protocol: Challenges in Assessing Childhood and Adolescent Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Technologies and Possible Association with Brain Tumor Risk.” Frontiers in Public Health, vol. 2, no. 124, 2014, pp. 1-10.

MOBI-Kids, a multinational case–control study, investigates the potential effects of childhood and adolescent exposure to EMF from mobile communications technologies on brain tumor risk in 14 countries. This manuscript discusses the design of MOBI-Kids and describes the challenges and approaches chosen to address them.

IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. “IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields.” IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans/World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer vol. 102, 2013.

INTERPHONE International Case Control Study of Tumours of the Brain and Salivary Glands Protocol 2001


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