No increase in brain tumor rates - Denmark, Finland, Norway & Sweden 1974-2003

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute analysed trends in the incidence of brain tumours in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1974 to 2003. The study, which included 59,984 men and women, concluded:

'No change in incidence trends were observed from 1998 to 2003, the time when possible associations between mobile phone use and cancer risk would be informative about an induction period of 5-10 years.'

The authors used data from the national cancer registries of the four countries, covering a population of 16 million adults, and the studied brain tumour types were glioma and meningioma. The authors note that the results are consistent with four possible interpretations:

1. that the induction period for brain tumors associated with mobile phone use exceeds 5 – 10 years;

2. that the increased risk of brain tumors associated with mobile phone use in this population is too small to be observed;

3. that the risk is restricted to subgroups of brain tumors or mobile phone users;

4. that there is no increased risk associated with mobile phone use.

Click here for the research paper

This analysis should reassure mobile phone users as the finding of no established brain tumour risk from mobile phone use is consistent with the results of INTERPHONE reported to date, the 420,000 strong Danish cohort study and many independent reviews.

The expert body (ICNIRP), which advises the WHO on this subject, recently reviewed the available evidence and stated in September 2009 that present standards for mobile phones and base stations are protective for all persons.

Suggestions of possible risks in some epidemiological studies are generally based on small numbers of subjects and there is uncertainty regarding the accuracy of recall of past use. Studies to assess the long term health of mobile phone users are already underway.