The Verdict: Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

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Published on July 01, 2014

The Verdict: Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

Cell phones are often considered an
extension of the body, but do they pose a
risk to your health?

It’s hard to imagine a time when the cell phone wasn’t considered an extension of the body. And as we’ve become increasingly dependent on our favorite technologies, we seem to have forgotten (or just chose to ignore) any worries that cellular devices might cause health issues down the road.

But should we be concerned?

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the current answer is no. So far, studies haven’t been able to show a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves or other tissues of the head and neck.

However, this doesn’t mean cell phones are in the clear. The NCI says more research will be needed, especially as cell phone models and the ways in which they’re used continue to change at a rapid pace—cellular devices and their capabilities are updated at least once a year. And with the prospect of wearable technology, such as the so-called smart watch or Google glass, even more research will be needed to study the long-term effects.

So why the fear over cell phones in the first place?

The NCI lists three different factors. One is that the number of cell phone users continues to rise, so an increasing number of people are exposing themselves to a potential danger. Many are also concerned about cell phones because, as you would probably assume, cell phone use has increased dramatically over the years. This means that the amount of radio waves each person is exposed to is higher than ever before. The last concern is that the radio waves (the kind used in microwaves) emitted by cell phones are so close to human tissue, it might get absorbed by the body and cause cell damage. To date, however, studies have not been able to prove that these radio waves are harmful enough to cause cancer.

So don’t panic.

On the other hand, there’s no evidence that cell phones are completely safe either and health organizations around the world agree that cell phones may pose health risks.

For those concerned about their safety, you can take extra precaution by limiting your cell phone use and using an earpiece to distance yourself from the radio waves, which are emitted from the phone’s antenna.

And pay attention to this ongoing conversation – you can be sure new research will come out in the months and years ahead.

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