Mobile Phones Don't Give You Brain Cancer
You've probably heard the line "get off your phone, it'll give you brain damage" from your angry mum at one point or another. Well now, you have all the scientific ammo you need to laugh wildly in her face... 30 years of study has finally shown that there is no link at all between mobile phone use and brain cancer.
Simon Chapman, former professor of public health at the University of Sydney led a study on the long-believed phenomenon. They studied 19,858 men and 14,222 women diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia between 1982 and 2012. They also measured national mobile phone usage between 1987 (when mobile phones were introduced to the country) and 2012. They found that as mobile phone use grew: "Age-adjusted brain cancer incidence rates had risen only slightly in males but were stable over 30 years in females."
The increase in males only appeared in men aged 70+, a trend that began in 1982, 5 years before the appearance of mobile phones in Australia. The team believes that this increase can be attributed to better diagnostic methods, rather than an actual increase in the condition.
The study also calculated the expected numbers of brain cancer patients should the idea that phones cause cancer actually be true.
"The expected number of cases in 2012 (had the phone hypothesis been true) was 1,866 cases, while the number recorded was 1,435." Chapman writes.
There are many studies before this which claim a link between mobile phone usage and brain cancer. However, it must be noted that this specific study is the most comprehensive and longest-running of its kind. In addition, Australia is thought to be a particularly good place to study this phenomenon, as all cancer diagnoses are formally registered by law.
Of course, the power of science is no match for the power of an old wive's tale. It's likely that studies like this will only put the barest dent in your old mum's deeply-held beliefs about the dangers of new technology. Still, you personally can rest assured that plastering your phone to your ear or playing Angry Birds for 10 hours a day will have no significant implications for your health.