The number of smartphone users worldwide has increased steadily over the years. In fact, GSMA Intelligence estimates that there are over 5 billion cell phone users across the globe to date. With this, the amount of time people spend using their phones has also swelled exponentially.
Many scientists and health advocates aren’t too keen about this trend. They are constantly warning the public about the potential health effects that may arise from constant and prolonged cell phone use, including a potential link between cell phone radiation and cancer.
Extensive studies have shown that the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emanating from wireless devices, such as smartphones, can lead to an inducement of cancer and tumors. These include brain cancer, schwannomas in the heart, and more recently, thyroid cancer.
The Link Between Thyroid Cancer and Cell phone Radiation
In 2013, researchers from Beilinson Hospital and Tel Aviv University illustrated the correlation between increased exposure to EMR from cell phones and the rise in cases of thyroid cancer. The results of their study marked the first evidence of alterations in thyroid cells in response to EMR.
While the jury’s still out on the supposed tumor risks associated with cell phone use, a new study conducted by researchers from Yale University’s School of Public Health showed that genetics play a part in cell phone-causing thyroid cancer.
The study, which was published in the Environmental Research journal, provided evidence that “genetic susceptibility influences the relationship between cell phone use and thyroid cancer.” By analyzing 900 samples, of which 440 had been histologically confirmed with thyroid cancer, the team found that some genes are linked to mutations of this type of cancer.
Interestingly, these aberrations are only evident in smartphone users who have genetic predisposition to thyroid cancer. This finding is the first of its kind to establish a connection between thyroid cancer development, those who are genetically at risk, and cell phone use.
The same research also revealed that men who actively used their mobile phones for more than 15 years have a greater chance of having thyroid cancer than those non-users.
On the other hand, women who are engaged with their handheld devices for at least two hours per day are more prone to thyroid cancer as compared to non-smartphone users.
Women are three times more at risk to have thyroid cancer, as per the American Cancer Society. There were more than 50,000 new cases in the United States alone, of which over 2,000 have died from this cancer. Having said that, thyroid cancer can be detected at an early stage, unlike other types of cancer.
Other reasons, such as environmental and lifestyle factors, may be attributed to the prevalence of thyroid cancer. While scientists and health organizations are still contending on the health effects of cell phone radiation, smartphone users can still begin to take precautions on minimizing their exposure to EMR.
The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) recommends to limit cell phone use, especially when fielding calls, for only a few minutes or only when necessary. It is also best to maximize the hands-free mode of your devices to decrease EMR exposure to the head. Using anti-radiation cell phone cases can also shield you from the harmful cell phone radiation.