Brain Cancer

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideCancer 101 Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Understanding Cancer

Cancer 101 Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Understanding Cancer

Do cell phones cause brain cancer?

There is an ongoing concern by a number of people that cell phones cause brain cancer. Some reports in the popular press and some web sites suggest that avoiding cell phone use and using a macrobiotic diet will help avoid brain cancer. This situation has been exacerbated by a recent ruling to put cell phones on a list of items that "may" cause cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This was done because the IARC suggested that an increase in gliomas may occur with high use of cell phones. The IARC classified cell phones as group 2b carcinogens; these substances are considered possibly carcinogenic, but evidence is limited in both humans and experimental animals. The report does not say that cell phones cause brain cancer.

Currently, many researchers are convinced there is no good evidence for these cancer-causing claims. In December 2010, a large study of about 59,000 cell phone users, with use times ranging over five to 10 years, indicated that no substantial change in brain cancer incidence could be found in these individuals. Investigators suggest that "high usage" of cell phones over long time periods is yet to be investigated. With over 5 billion phones in use and no significant increase in gliomas (the most frequent type of brain cancer) reported worldwide, many investigators think that normal cell use likely causes no harm. However, for those readers who want to minimize any electromagnetic radiation dose from cell phones, the reader can consult the web for a list of phones that produce the highest and lowest radiation levels (for example, http://reviews.cnet.com/2719-6602_7-291-2.html?tag=page;page). In addition, the use of earphones or the speaker function will allow usage without the phone having close proximity to the brain. The American Cancer Society has a detailed review of most of the major studies done on this topic to date (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/cellular-phones).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2015
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