Last Modified: March 22, 2012
Has there been a definite conclusion with cell phones causing cancer?
Charles B. Simone, II, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Penn Medicine responds:
That is a great question, but a very controversial topic. Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, which is a non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that can be absorbed by your tissues were the cell phone is help. Some studies have demonstrated a slight increase in risk of certain brain tumors, from aggressive brain cancers to benign non-cancerous brain tumors like meningiomas or acoustic neuromas. Many other studies, however, have not demonstrated a risk. Any theoretical risk of tumors developing from cell phone use would be related to the type of phone used, the distance from the antenna of the phone to the user (using a speaker phone and holding the phone away from the body would decrease the radiation exposure), and the frequency and duration of using the phone. At this time, there is not enough evidence to conclude that cell phones increase tumor or cancer risk. More research is needed in this field, particularly with newer types of cell phones that may emit lower levels of radiofrequency energy.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Cancer Risk & Prevention Webchat transcript.