Sharp increase in parotid gland cancers linked with mobile phone usage.

Rakefet Czerninski, Avi Zini and Harold Sgan-Cohen of the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew Univeristy of Jerusalem have found that parotid gland tumours have quadrupled since 1970, "with the steepest increase" after 2001 – reinforcing the work of Siegal Sadetzki, the leader of the Israeli Interphone study group, who had reported that heavy users of cell phones "showed significantly elevated risks" of parotid gland tumors afteronly five years of use.

The parotid gland is a type of salivary gland —the one that is closest to the cheek next to where most people hold their cell phones. Interestingly, the new Israeli data show no similar increases in the two other major types of salivary glands, the submandibular and sublingual glands that are further away from the phone.

Earlier this year, another group at the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine found that, in a test on human volunteers, the parotid gland adjacent to a cell phone had higher rates of saliva secretion, and lower protein secretion, than did the parotid gland on the other side of the face.

Up until now Sadetzki's results and those of others pointing to increases in the risk of developing brain tumors or acoustic neuromas, have met with widespread skepticism because, critics say, no one has seen an uptick of the these tumors in the general population. However, this is exctly what the team in Jerusalem has jsut shown — although no one is claiming to have shown a causal association. Even so, the new finding is guaranteed to rekindle concerns about the possible link between cell phones and cancer.

Israelis are well known as exceptionally heavy users of cell phones. There has been a sixfold increase in the number of minutes used from 1997 to 2006, according to Czerninski and his colleagues.

Epidemiology, 22, p.130, January 2011

Courtesy of Microwave News

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