Stop Talking, You Might Get Cancer

Ok, so what is the consensus? Is talking over the cell phone harmful or not really? There have been a lot of suggestions that heavy cell phone use has a strong correlation with brain cancer. However, there is no conclusive evidence to prove this link for sure. But on the other hand do we really need conclusive evidence about this issue? I would think even if there were a small chance that cell phone usage and brain cancer are linked, we need to take the matter seriously.

So why do experts think that cell phones might cause cancer? First, cell phones are instruments that receive and emit radiofrequency (RF) waves. These are low frequency radiations that could potentially penetrate body tissues and cause increase in cellular temperature. Second, traditional cell phone use forces us to hold the instrument in such close proximity to the head; it concentrates the radiation into the brain. It is not known for sure if these radiations cause mutations in DNA or ions in the body fluid. But at the same time, the long-term effects of the radiation on the body have not been studied.

In the 1980’s, there was a tremendous increase in the number of cell phone users. This trend continued over the next decade and into the next millennium. The number of cellular phone subscribers has more than doubled in the last 8 years (from 110 million in 2000 to 255 million in 2008). Cell phones are used so frequently and for such prolonged time periods that it is highly important to conduct studies that throw some light on the cumulative effect of radiation exposure. Another important area to focus on is children’s cell phones and their effects. Since the child’s nervous system is still growing and developing, the cells are more susceptible to changes in structure. This increases their risk of cancer.

Some of the other factors that determine cancer risk are size of the cellular phone, strength of connecting signal, proximity to the ear, and frequency of use. Some people are already genetically predisposed to getting cancer; and it is especially necessary for them to be extra cautious. The vice-president of the American Cancer Society advises using headsets while talking over cell phones, using text messaging and using the speaker phone tool to greatly decrease risk. The general consensus is also that extensive research that needs to be done on the long-term effects.

In today’s wireless world, human beings are islands in a sea of radiation from every possible type of electronic device — from laptop machines to the complex gaming systems and phones that let you do a million things other than just talk! In an environment such as this, do we really have to actually talk over the cell phone to tap into the radiations? Aren’t we already exposed to them radiations just by being outdoors, or near a satellite dish receiver or a digital recorder? We can eat foods that are rich in antioxidants; we can refrain from smoking and drinking. But what can we do about the millions of E-toxins flying around us in the form of lethal radiations?


Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk. National Cancer Institute Factsheet.

Nirupama Shankar, PT, MHS

Nirupama Shankar, PT, MHS, is a physical therapist by profession, and has over 7 years of clinical experience in the field of neurological rehabilitation. She has treated individuals with stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and amputations. She has also completed training modules and community education projects in Michigan and North Carolina.
See All Posts By The Author