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Dialing Up a Tumor on Your Cell Phone

Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.

October 15, 2004 -- Ten or more years of mobile phone use has been found to increase the risk of a tumor called acoustic neuroma. The risk appears confined to the side of the head where the phone is usually held.

This worrisome information is in a report of a study from the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the famed Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. There is no evidence for an increased risk with less than 10 years of mobile phone use.

Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic neuromas are slow-growing benign tumors of the acoustic nerve, the eighth cranial nerve, which is responsible for balance and head position as well as hearing.

Radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones is concentrated to the tissues closest to the handset, which includes the auditory nerve. If this type of exposure increases tumor risk, acoustic neuroma would be a potential concern.

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