Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

In the past, numerous studies have not show a link between cancer and cell phone use but this week, Prof Heberman, the head of a prominent cancer research institute in Pittsburgh, issued a warning to his faculty and staff to limit cell
phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

Herberman is basing his alarm on early unpublished data and says it
takes too long to get answers from science, believing that people
should take action now, especially when it comes to children.  In other words, use caution because prevention is better than cure.

Of course, it is possible that such the electromagnetic effect may not show up for a lifetime and trial is going to last that long, so any study is likely looking at the short rather than long term effects.  Many cancers occur in the elderly where mutations in the DNA are more likely occur over time.

Overall, the risks are relatively low but no one knows who is susceptible to cancer and who is not.  Caution is therefore probably a sensible approach.  Headsets and speaker phone use offers a viable alternative and I canfess these are options I tend to use myself, where possible.

What’s your take?  What do you do?

Sources:

FDA Q+A
Univ. Pittsburgh Advice
CNN

3 Responses to “Cell phones and cancer risk – is there one?”

  1. Ian R McAllister

    I am with the professor for a certain sector of the population. Having worked in the telco industry for 28 years, there is a lot of research and rumour associated with such a proposition – smoke without a fire?
    For adults, I think the risk is manageable from one side of the house – the bigger short term and proven concern is hearing loss over cancer, although excess use for many can easily lead to headaches. For children where the cranial bones have not fused, I agree with many of the national authorities in firstly not giving children their own phone before the age of 11/12, and secondly then limiting that use until 16+.
    There are a lot of social pressures to keep connected, and I am sure many of the medical statistical trends won’t come out for many years. But a bit of common sense on usage should be applied to minimize detriment to your overall personal health, as well as any possible cancer risks

  2. Ian R McAllister

    I am with the professor for a certain sector of the population. Having worked in the telco industry for 28 years, there is a lot of research and rumour associated with such a proposition – smoke without a fire?
    For adults, I think the risk is manageable from one side of the house – the bigger short term and proven concern is hearing loss over cancer, although excess use for many can easily lead to headaches. For children where the cranial bones have not fused, I agree with many of the national authorities in firstly not giving children their own phone before the age of 11/12, and secondly then limiting that use until 16+.
    There are a lot of social pressures to keep connected, and I am sure many of the medical statistical trends won’t come out for many years. But a bit of common sense on usage should be applied to minimize detriment to your overall personal health, as well as any possible cancer risks

  3. Sally

    Common sense is indeed a sensible and precautionary approach, Ian. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
    I tend to use headsets or speakerphones myself, where possible, it just seems a better idea than frying my brain with electromagnetism. The loud constant noise via iPods and other MP3 players is another case in point.
    Aside from the risk of cancer, I have wondered what impact it might have on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, for example. Who knows. The data will only really show an impact in epidemiology studies in the future, but by then it will be too late for many of us!

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