Brain Tumors On The Rise in England

In England, there is a high concern regarding cell-phone radiation as the number of brain tumors reported has more than doubled in recent decades.  GBM, known as Glioblastoma, climbed from 2.4 to 5.0 per 100,000 people in England between 1995 and 2015. New study questions what could be driving the rise for these figures and previous studies on this similar topic briefly reference how cell phone usage can possibly be associated with brain tumors and changes in the brain.  

A study published by “The Journal of Environmental and Public Health” noted that, “the data analyzed in the study only reflect trends in brain cancer cases and do not shed light on why these trends could have occurred, but the researchers pointed to examples of lifestyle factors that they think could have played a role.”

Cell phone usage

A lifestyle factor they are referring to is the increase in cell phone usage. Think about this. When was the last time you left your home without your cell phone? Did you go back to get it? People are becoming more and more dependent on their cell phones.  This electronic device does everything for us and most people can’t go a day without their cell phone. However, it can very well be the reason why these numbers are increasing as time goes by.

Related Article: THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH (CDPH) ISSUES GUIDELINES ON “HOW TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO RADIO FREQUENCY ENERGY FROM CELL PHONES”

According to the “National Cancer Institute in the United States”, our use of cell phones has increased rapidly, and the number of phone calls we make and the length of those calls also have increased. With that said, how worried should we be?  The US Food and Drug Administration notes that “since cell phones emit low levels of radio frequency energy that are non-ionizing, they're not considered strong enough to permanently damage our biological tissues.” Even though this radio frequency energy is a form of non-ionizing radiation, the tissues in our body that are closest to our phone can absorb this energy (think of your head when you are holding your cell phone during a phone call).

cell phone radiation

While the researchers were comparing the numbers from 1995 to 2015, they mentioned that atomic bomb testing and ingesting/inhaling radioactive substances as a possible factor that contributed to the rise in glioblastoma diagnosis. They also mentioned traffic-related air pollution in addition to cell phone usage could be apart of that equation as well.  Out of all these things mentioned that could be attributed to this rise in numbers, should we be more concerned with cell-phone radiation?  


Lion Shahab, a senior lecturer in epidemiology and public health at University College London, said in a written statement released by the Science Media center that, “This paper provides evidence for a rise in specific malignant brain tumors in England, showing that incidence has more than doubled over the last two decades. What the analysis does not show is that this rise is caused by mobile phones.”  It is important to note that in this particular study, information about linking mobile phone use and brain tumors was left out for a number of reasons. Shahab further explains that “if such a link were found, correlation does not imply causation." So, in other words,  just because a rise in brain tumor incidence appeared to occur at the same time as a rise in cell phone use, that does not mean one caused the other.

Now, with all of that said, the rise in malignant brain tumors to mobile phone usage remains “speculative”, and although the rise in numbers happened in England, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have to worry about this happening everywhere in the world. The study received criticism, and Alasdair Philips, the lead author of the study and a trustee of Children with Cancer UK., said: “he would ask, what else could be contributing to the increase in brain tumor incidence?” Furthermore, he says, "It has to be a fairly universal thing or change in lifestyle that would cause such a trend.”  

Cell phone use

 

Cell phones are used every day, for both leisure and work. This small electronic device helps us stay connected to our friends and family via phone calls and text messages, and on top of that, enables us to stay even more connected with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (to name a couple).  The number of mobile phone subscribers worldwide is estimated to be 5 billion, according to GSMA, a trade association that represents the interests of mobile operators, and we are starting to see a younger generation of cell phone subscribers ranging from 8-18 years of age.


Now, with the brain tumors rising in England, and the vast increase of mobile phone subscribers worldwide, should we be concerned about the negative effects of cell phones? The answer is YES! Do not wait until someone you know and love is affected by this to take action on your own health.


If you missed our last blog post regarding an article posted by “The Nation”, and how cell phone companies aren’t telling you the entire truth, you can read that here. From there, you can decide if cell phones are on track to becoming a device that keeps us connected, or slowly harms us more and more every day.

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