Study Seems to Link Salivary Gland Cancer Increase, Cell Phone Use

Michael Santo's picture

Many studies have said that use of cell phones is perfectly safe. Then there are studies that link cell phones to cancer. In effect: depends who you listen to, and who you believe. The latest study, by Israeli researchers, purports to link cell phone use and an increase in salivary gland cancer in that country.

The study was commissioned by the Israel Dental Association and directed by Avi Zini of the community dentistry department at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine. The study examined of oral cavity cancers in Israel from 1970 to 2006.

Researchers found a rise in the number of cases of malignant growth in parotid glands. The parotid gland is the salivary gland located under the ear, near the location where cell phones would be held during a conversation.

A very suspicious location, of course, but naturally any wireless carrier or cell phone manufacturer worth his (stockholders') salt would reject the study. For one, researchers did not gather data on the use of cell phones by the patients. The location and the rise in incidence are what concern them.

It's also suspicious that those most likely to be affected by a large degree of cell phone use, younger patients, are disproportionately affected in the study. twenty percent of salivary gland cancer patients were under 20.

From the report:

The researchers intend to collect data on their oral cancer patients' cell phone use during the next stage of the study to examine the possible statistical link between the two.

Of the 11,843 Israelis who developed oral cancers during the period studied, salivary gland cancer was the third most common (at 16.2 percent) after lip cancer and throat cancer. Most oral cancer patients were over 70, with only 2.7 percent under the age of 20.

However, salivary gland cancer, which researchers suspect to be linked to cell phone use, was disproportionately common among young patients. One fifth of those patients were under 20.

What do I think? This "argument" will probably never be settled. Much like courtroom experts, either side can gather enough research or testimony to "prove" their side. In the end, it's a a stalemate. Me: I just play it safe and use a Bluetooth headset all the time, and keep cell phones away from my head.

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