Cell Phones And Cancer Essay

I remember the first time my grandfather told me he had cancer. My assumption was that it was all health related. Yet I learned that it was also caused by the usage of electronic devices. I was shocked and surprised of this news. Will this start to affect the future of my generation? It seems like everyone is on some type of electronic device everywhere you look.. Cell phones first became widely available in the United States in the 1990s. Ever since then the use of them have increased dramatically. In 2011, more than 320 million people had phones which is more than US population.

The age range and how long people talk on their phone have increased. Brain cancer in the past decade was at 23,130 new diagnoses and 14,080 deaths. The 5-year relative survival diagnosed from 2003-2009 was 35 percent. “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk” talks about different points that have been brought up with cell phones causing cancer. There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cell phones might cause cancer. First, cell phones emit radiofrequency energy which can cause the tissues to absorb non-ionizing radiation. Second, the number of cell phone users has increased rapidly.

In 2010, there were more than 303 million subscribers to cell phone service in the United States versus 110 million user in 2000. Lastly, the number of cell phone calls per day, length of call, and amount of time people use cell phones have increased. There are two different types of electromagnetic radiation: ionizing, which is like x-rays and non-ionizing, which is like radiofrequency. A recent study shows that when people use their phone for 50 minutes, the brain tissue on the phone side is metabolizes more glucose than the tissues on the opposite side of the brain.

A study known as COSMOS which is cohort study of mobile phone of society. They enrolled approximately 290,000 cell phone user aged 18 years or older to date and will follow them for 20 to 30 years. The users will complete questionnaires about their health, lifestyle, and current and past cell phone use. Researchers hope after the 20 to 30 years of following these people around they will have more data in which they can see if cell phone actually do cause cancer. According to the American Cancer Society page, how cell phones work by sending signal to a cell tower by your provider using radio-frequency (RF) waves.

This forms electromagnetic energy that falls between FM radio waves and microwaves. Radiofrequency waves are from strong types of radiation called ionizing, like x-rays and ultraviolet light, which can break the chemical bonds in DNA. According to the American Cancer Society page they say it is hard to come up with the exact answer if cell phones do cause cancer right now because firstly studies have not yet been able to follow people for very long periods of time. So when the people do get tumors the scientists do not know where they have been or what they have done.

Cell phone usage is constantly changing. People are using cell phones much more than they were 10 years ago. Most studies published so far have focused on adults, rather than children. Children with tumors develop them at a young age. Children use cell phones now a days and they are more sensitive to the radio-frequency waves, that it could be a possibility. The measurement of cell phone use in most cases has been case-control studies, which rely on people’s memories about their past cell phone use.

On the Mayo Clinic website there was a question asked “is there any link between cellphones and cancer? ” Timothy Moynihan a M. D. answered the question. He believes there is a possible connection. Some research suggests a slight increase in the rate of brain tumors since the 1970s, but cell phones weren’t used till the 1990s. Dr. Moynihan says for now, no one knows if cell phones are capable of causing cancer. I personally believe cell phones have some kind of role with brain cancer, because 3 years ago my grandfather got diagnosed with brain cancer.

Luckily they caught it at its early stage. He was not on his phone a lot but the doctor said even talking on it three to four times a day can build up quickly. However, most studies published so far have not found a link between cell phone use and brain cancer. They are still trying to find out more details. Right now this is a theory and eventually they will come up with the answer, but it will take time and research. Writer’s Introduction My intended audience is high school and college kids. This is my audience because they use their phones more often.

They are going in the work force soon and will be using their phones a lot more often, talking to customers and business people. I feel like I can write about this because I have a personal experience with this topic due to my grandfather. Works Cited “Cell Phones and Cancer Risk. ” National Cancer Institute, 24 June 2013.

Web. 14 Nov. 2013. . “Cellular Phones. ” American Cancer Society, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. . Moynihan, Timothy J. , M. D. “Is There Any Link between Cellphones and Cancer? ” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. .





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Can cell phones cause cancer?

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Technology has always made an impact on our society. Over the last few decades, there have been many inventions that have changed our lifestyles. Cellular Telephony has, by all accounts, modified how we interact with others; but at what cost? Are there health issues associated with this technology? More explicitly can cell phones cause cancer? This question is the basis of this review. The researcher has compiled articles that cover this topic from diverse scholarly sources, and diverse countries.
It is undeniable that cellular technology has become main stream. “It was estimated that there were 92 million cell phone users in the US, a number growing by one million every month.” (Frumkin, Jacobson, Gansler & Thun 2001). The arrival and widespread use of cell phones has peaked interest of the health effects of radiofrequencies in the human body.
Cell phones use radio frequencies to transmit signals. Radio Frequencies (RF) are a form of electrical waves similar to those used in radios, microwaves, radars or satellite stations. They are emitted from a transmitter, and received using an antenna. This telephony technology is restricted geographically to small zones called “Cells”. Every cell has a base station capable of sending and receiving radio waves. When a call is started a signal leaves the handheld unit headed to the closest base station. This station answers by allocating a specific channel to the unit. When this “channel” is established, modulated radio frequency signals are both received and transmitted. The head of the user is in the near field of use because the distance from the antenna to the head is a few centimeters. (Blettner & Berg 2000) If the antenna is inside the body of the phone, the exposure to Radio Frequencies is greater. The antenna might be requesting a stronger signal to contest with the interference of the battery or the actual shell of the phone’s body.
The level of RF a person receives is related to many factors, not only the placement of the antenna. Factors that can increase the level of RF are the number of “cells”, the distance to the “base station”, or the obstacles between the caller and the station. The number of cell zones depends on the user population. Heavily populated areas have more cells allowing for more telecommunication traffic. Being close to a cell site lowers the power needed to sustain a call, hence reduces the exposure to RF.

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Rural areas are covered by only a few cells, and each call needs more power, increasing the RF exposure. Additionally, obstacles or other radio wave interference can make the signal solicit more power. Therefore the amount of power sent from a base station to a particular handheld can vary, even with in a single call. (Frumkin et al. 2001).
Another consideration is the equipment itself. Different manufacturers use different power levels for their phones. Each manufacturer is required to report the power level needed for its equipment to work, and the amount of absorption of RF. The specific absorption rate (SAR) is the amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed into the local tissue. According to the FCC’s safety guidelines for handheld cellular phones, the limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram of body weight. It should also be noted that as technology improves, better receivers are created, and lower power is needed. Hence newer equipment has lower SAR ratings.
RF exposure can cause heating of cells and human tissue. This heating might cause malign effects on the body especially the central nervous system which is more sensitive to heating due to its limited capability to dissipate the heat. Goldsmith in a 1995, stated in his article, “Laboratory studies suggest that adverse biologic effects can be caused by temperature rises in tissues that exceed 1ºC above their normal temperatures”. There is additional concern that RF exposure below detectable heating might have carcinogenic effects. RF does not have enough energy to cause DNA degeneration. General concern is that studies are generally short.
It is a common theme among all the reviewed articles that “widespread of cell phone use is little more than a decade old, and there has been limited opportunity to examine long-term health effects…” (Ahlbom, Green, Kheifets, Savitz, & Swerdlow. 2004). Only short term exposure has been researched. Case studies have been mainly performed in the Scandinavian countries, United Kingdom, and the United States. Animal studies have reported a lack of connection between RF and damage to cell tissue. There is no support for an increase of cancer risk among rats. The only incidence of cancer had been related to whole body RF irradiation of animals (Fisher 2000).
A human controlled study in Sweden compared 233 patients diagnosed with brain cancer to their cell phone use statistics. They found that there was no general type of cancer to associate with cell phone use. (Mild, Hardell, Kundi, Mattson, 2003). Another study in New York, Providence and Boston compared 469 patients and found that when specific locations of tumor within the brain were considered there were no links to the use of cell phones. Other researchers agree that there has not been a study that shows a clear link between the side of the head on which the brain cancer occurred and the side of the head where the user holds the phone.
Currently the International Agency for Cancer has launched a case control study in 13 countries. This multinational study will include approximately 6000 brain tumors and they relationship to phone usage. (Blettner et al. 2000). All the current conclusions for these numerous studies tend towards a precautionary approach. They argue that where the public health is a stake, the risks can be so high and the cost of latter correction action is too great, therefore the prevention is better than the cure (Maisch 2001).
Cellular technology is relatively a new technology, we cannot assume complete safety because the lack of long-term follow-up of its biological effects. However, we can see that equipment is getting more and more advanced and is requiring less power to function. Lower power requirements will lower the energy emitted and probably make it unlikely to cause tissue damage. Some common sense should still apply to the use of cell phones. “Children should be discouraged from using mobile phones, as their developing bodies could be more prone to radiation damage.” (Maisch 2001). Phone calls should be kept brief and hands free kits should be used when at all possible.
As cellular telephones are a relatively new technology, we do not have yet the long-term follow up on their possible health effects. Several well designed studies have shown no consistent association between cell phone use and cancer. It is impossible to prove that this technology is complete safe. There are no conclusive facts to prove or dismiss such a connection between brain cancer and the use of cellular phones. However all researchers do agree that is too early to make any conclusions based on long-term exposure.

Ahlbom, A., Green, A., Kheifets, L., Savitz, D., & Swerdlow, A. (2004 December). Epidemiology of health effects of radiofrequency exposure. Environmental Medicine, 112 (17), 1741-1754.
AlOrainy, A. (2003). Recent research on mobile phone effects. Proceedings of the International Conference on Non-Ionizing Radiation at UNITEN.
Blettner, M., & Berg, G. (2000). Are mobile phones harmful?. Acta Oncologica, 39 (8), 927-930.
Boice, J. D., & McLaughlin, J. K. (2002). Epidemiologic studies of cellular telephones and cancer risk.
Frey, A. H. (2001 May). Cellular telephones and brain cancer: Current research. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109 (5), A200.
Frumkin, H., Jacobson, A., Gansler, T., & Thun, M. J. (2001). Environmental carcinogens – Cellular phones and risk of brain tumors. CA Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 51, 137-141.
Goldsmith, JR. (1995). Epidemiologic evidence of radiofrequency radiation effects on health in military, broadcasting and occupational studies. International Journal On Occupational Environmental Health, 1, 47-57.
Maisch, D. (2001 April). Mobile phone use: It’s time to take precautions. Journal of Australasian College of Nutrition & Environmental Medicine, 20 (1) 3-10.
Mild, K. H., Hardell, L., Kundi, M. & Mattson, M. (2003). Mobile telephones and cancer: Is there really no evidence of an association?. International Journal Of Molecular Medicine, 12, 67-72.
Moulder, J. E., Erdreich, L. S., Malyapa, R. S., Merrit, J. Pickard, W.F., & Vijayalaxmi. (1999). Cell phones and cancer: What is the evidence for a connection?. Radiation Research, 151, 513-531.
Salford, L. G., Brun, A. E., Eberhardt, J. L., Malmgreen, L., & Persson, B. R. R. (2003 June). Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones. Environmental Medicine, 111 (7), 881-883.
Sandström, M., Mild, K. H., Wilén, J., & Oftedal, G. (2000 June). Symptoms associated with mobile phone use: Results of the Swedish-Norwegian survey. Salzburg Conference.
Stewart, W. (2000). Mobile phones and health.

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