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Cell Phone Use Linked to Parotid Gland Tumors in Israeli Study

Dec 7, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP

Cell phone use has been linked to tumors once again - this time by an Israeli study that found that frequent cell phone users were more likely to develop parotid gland tumors than the population as a whole.  The Israeli study is just the latest research to find a connection between cell phone use and a serious disease.   The cell phone tumor study, which is being published today in the "American Journal of Epidemiology", is sure to catch the attention of anyone who spends a great deal of time glued to their cell phone.

The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands. The Israeli study looked at 402 adults with benign parotid gland tumors and 58 others who had malignant tumors of the parotid gland diagnosed in Israel from 2001-2003.   According to the researchers, people who spent more than 22 hours a month on their cell phones where 50-percent more likely to develop cancer of the parotid gland than those who used the phones less often.  The risk of developing a parotid gland tumor was even higher in people who generally used their cell phones on the same ear most of the time, and did not use a hands-free device. 

Cell phone use has long been suspected of having some effect on tumor development.  Other studies have found an intriguing correlation between frequent cell phone use and a variety of tumors.  Two studies, one in England and another in Germany, found an increased risk of glioma - an often deadly type of brain cancer - in people who had used cell phones for more than 10 years.  The German study compared a group of 749 brain tumor patients with 1,494 similar people who did not use cell phones, and found that the risk of gliomas was double in those who had used cell phones for at least a decade.  British scientists compared 996 brain tumor patients with 1,716 healthy people who did not use cell phones, and found the risk of brain cancer increased by 20% in long term users.  Like the Israeli study, the British researchers found a higher risk of tumors on the side of the head where cell phone users most often held their phones. 

A third study in Sweden in 2004 found that frequent cell phone users ran a higher risk of developing acoustic neuroma - a noncancerous brain tumor.  This study found that people who used analog cell phones starting 15 years before diagnosis developed acoustic neuroma at four times the normal rate.

Most of the cell phone studies done so far have been small, but their results are troubling.  The findings of the Israeli study, when combined with those of earlier cell phone studies, underscores the need for more research into the correlation between cell phone use and tumors.

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