This is the sort of news story that can drive you crazy! Now I have written enough times on the speculation of a link between cell phone use and cancer for regular readers to know that I am not sure what to believe. Those same readers also know that main-stream media articles on almost any subject can drive me to pull my hair out. Actually it looks like I’ve pulled out a lot of it already and probably should find a new way of venting my frustration with these articles. So let me vent with this post!
USA Today recently published an article titled “Cellphones don’t increase cancer risk in kids, study says“. This article goes on and on about how researchers have shown that “using cellphones doesn’t increase children’s cancer risk. The article reads more like a press release from the cell phone manufacturers association than it does like an independent assessment of the study. Now maybe it is just poor writing in the USA Today article, but there appears to be either incomplete information in the article, or a total contradiction in relaying the results.
You can read the article and see for yourself but what caught my attention was this… After stating several ways to Sunday that there is no increased childhood cancer risk from cell phone use, there is this gem about 3/4ths of the way through the article:
In a subset of children, researchers found a higher risk of brain tumors in children whose cellphone subscriptions had begun more than 2.8 years ago.
What that means exactly I cannot tell. I read the abstract of the article but that “subset” is not addressed. To read the full study you either have to be a paying subscriber to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, or buy one-day access to the study online. I did find a good summary of the study written by two epidemiologists but that also did not seem to directly address this subset of children who did have increased cancer rates.