Study links mobile phone use with eye cancer

A German study purports to find a statistically significant link between a rare form of eye cancer and mobile telephone use, but its authors say the topic still needs more research.

          A German study purports to find a statistically significant link between a rare form of eye cancer and mobile telephone use, but its authors say the topic still needs more research.

          Scientists from the Essen University Clinic queried 118 patients with uveal melanoma about their telephone usage patterns, and compared the results with a control group of 475 healthy individuals, said a statement released by the university. They found that heavy users of mobile devices are 3.3 times more likely to develop the disease. The team published their findings in the current issue of the journal "Epidemiology."

          Authors Dr Andreas Stang and Professor Karl-Heinz Jöckel say they could in no way rule out the possibility that other causes explain the higher cancer rate among the survey population, and called for further research. The study did not measure the radiation levels to which the patients were exposed.

          Uveal melanoma is a relatively unusual tumour, with a rate of only one new case per year in 100,000 people.

          The authors add that they believe it would have been better to carry out complete studies on the health consequences of mobile phone use parallel to the introduction of the technology.

          Controversy has raged over suspicions of health risks associated with mobile phones; recent studies on a purported link between the devices and brain tumours have yielded conflicting results. The Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine last month called the link unlikely, but called for continued examination of the issue

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