Free Research Paper About Phone Use And Brain Cancer
Objectives of my search
What triggers the genesis of the cancer in a seemingly healthy person? How safe are we from such life threatening health conditions? Are elements in our daily life and environment risk factors to cancers such as brain cancer? Does the use of mobile phones increase our chances of developing cancer?
I sought to know what the process of development of a brain cancer. I wanted to find any existing research on brain cancers. I also wanted to find out which elements of our surroundings and lifestyle set off the development of cancer. I directed much emphasis on the risk posed by the mobile phone, an everyday gadget that most people use. I examined the popular theories and sought to find out whether there was any scientific backing to the theories. I listed these problems and this list formed the basis of my research question: does the use of mobile phones increase the incidence of brain cancer?
Story of my search
My research on the relationship between cancer and the use of mobile phones took me five weeks. I started my research by gathering some background information about brain cancer from the Medline Plus website by the United States National Library of Medicine and the brain tumor booklet by the National Cancer Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health And Human Services. The Medline Plus website provided information on the definition of brain tumor. The brain tumor booklet provided extensive information on the various types of brain cancer and the parts of the brain that they affect. The booklet also listed the risk factors that increase the incidence of brain cancers and the diagnosis of brain cancer. I also used the CBTRUS (Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States) website, which provided incidence statistics of brain tumors in the United States of America.
After seeking the background information, I embarked on an online search of the available academic journals on the relationship between brain cancer and mobile phone use. I used the Google scholar function in the Google search engine to find relevant sources and used the search terms brain cancer and mobile phone use.
Of the many hits that I got using this search engine, I decided to use the research articles published from 2010 onwards. I made this choice since such research papers investigated the impact of mobile phone use for a substantially long time (from the 1990s when there was an increase in mobile phone use) and this large data set would provide dependable, accurate and credible results. In light of this, I decided to use the papers that did not have direct funding from major telecom players, as these would be liable to bias. In addition, I decided to use the research papers with backing from major health organizations in the world, as this would boost their credibility.
These criteria helped me to choose the Interphone study report on mobile phone use and brain cancer risk that The World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed. This paper provided an intensive study involving over thirteen countries and this provided a substantially large data set to boost the reliability and accuracy of the findings. In addition, the endorsement by the world health organization added to the credibility of the findings of the paper.
During the search I also encountered another informative research article titled “Mobile phone and cordless phone use and the risk for glioma – Analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997–2003 and 2007–2009” from the Pathophysiology journal, the certified journal of the international society for physiology (ISP). The study provided described the findings of a 25 years research on the effect of mobile phone use to glioma, a common form of brain cancer. The duration of this research made it a priceless resource.
My search results
According to the national cancer institute show that there are 35,000 new cases of brain tumors in the United States of America annually. The CBTRUS website projects that in 2015, there will be over 68,470 new case and more than 23,000 of these cases will be cancerous tumors. The incidence rate of brain tumors in the United States as at 2011 was 7.25 cases per 100,000 people. This is higher than in the developing countries where the incidence rate was at 3.00 cases per 100,000 people. Researchers all over the world try to explain to explain the high incidence rate in the developed countries. Various researchers attribute the high incidence of brain cancer to the increased use of mobile phones. From my research, I have concluded that there is indeed a real risk, though small, associated with mobile phone use and brain cancer.
According to the Medline Plus website, a brain tumor is an anomalous development of cells in the tissues of the human brain, which may be primary or metastatic. Primary tumors originate from the tissues within the brain while the metastatic tumors have their origin in other parts of the body other than the brain and then move to the brain. The most common risk factors are genetics, exposure to chemical carcinogens and exposure to radiation.
The role of electromagnetic waves in the development of brain cancers has been a subject of research in the scientific community for a long time. X-rays are a known source of radiation that can cause cancers on long periods of exposure. Due to the increasing use of mobile phones, scientists embarked on research projects to determine whether there is a connection between exposure to radio waves from mobile phones and the development of brain cancer. The Interphone study examined the pattern of mobile phone usage over 13 participant countries.
The study used 14,000 respondents and focused on the cancers affect the tissues that absorb most radiation from the mobile phones. These included the auditory nerve, the brain membranes (meninges), the forebrain and the salivary glands. For light phone users, the study showed no linkage between cancer and mobile phone use and but it found a statistical relationship between the long-term use of mobile phones and the incidence of brain cancer.
The long-term respondents were all those people who were on their mobile phones for more than thirty minutes daily for over ten years. While this report was successful in showing a small statistical link, it did not explain how the exposure to mobile phone radiation increases the risk to brain cancer. The researches were not convinced that this statistical connection was enough proof of the direct relationship of exposure to mobile phone radiation and the development of cancer.
A study conducted in Sweden in shows a grater relationship between exposure to mobile phone radiation and cancer. The research by Lennart Hardell and Michael Carlberg of the department of oncology at the Örebro University Hospital found strong evidence linking the two contrary to the Interphone study (2014). The study found out that the heavy mobile phone users over a period of 25 years had a double chance of developing brain cancer compared to the light users.
According to the study, those who started using the mobile phone at an age younger than 20 were at a higher risk than the older respondents were. This is because, they have a thinner skull hence the brain tissue absorbs more radio wave radiation than in adults. In addition, their brain is developing hence the higher risk.
Another research titled “Childhood brain tumor risk and its association with wireless phones” shows a statistical link connecting the use of mobile phones and the growth of brain cancer but concludes that this link is insignificant and does not indicate that the use of mobile phones leads to the development of cancer. However, according to a commentary on this research, the research had experimental design limitations that made it difficult to arrive at a conclusive deduction from the study data.
The commentary found overwhelming data from the study that suggested strong links connecting the use of mobile phones and the progression of brain cancer contrary to the reported findings by the study. In another analysis, Martine Vrijheid and his colleagues found out that selection bias was the most rampant cause of inconclusive results in such epidemiologic studies.
While there is statistical relationship between phone use and brain cancer, there lacks an accepted mechanism of how these two relate. One mechanism proposes that the electromagnetic waves from the mobile phones trigger the heat shock proteins leading to tumor growth.
Another mechanism proposes that the electromagnetic waves alters cellular enzymes in the brain cells enzymes to their active state and this may lead to the altering of their DNA resulting in tumor growth. In an ongoing research at the University of Newcastle in Australia uses sperm cells to determine how the exposure to mobile phone waves affects the biology of the cell in a bid to use this mechanism to explain how the same radiation causes cancer in the human brain (Mark, 2012).
In a documentary by the ABC channel, Dr Geoff De Iuliis, a sperm cell biologist at this university exposes a purified sample of sperm cells to a high dose of electromagnetic waves for sixteen hours. While the control sample remains healthy, the exposed sample looses motility. Geoff explains that the radiation affects the mitochondria and affects the energy output of the sperm cell hence the loss of motility. This is one of the proposed mechanisms to explain the relationship between the exposure to mobile phone radiation and the development of brain cancer.
At the end of the research, I concluded that there a risk to the human brain, albeit small, posed by the exposure to the mobile phone radiation. Research shows statistical relationship between development of brain cancer and the exposure to mobile phone waves. Studies show that the high doses of electromagnetic waves from mobile phones affect the physiology of human cells hence there is a high chance that the same waves have adverse effects to the human brain especially after prolonged exposure. In the future experiments, there is need to re-model the experiments to reduce the design limitations and bias in the findings. There is need for additional research on the mechanism through which exposure to mobile phone waves affects.
Impact of the search
In the course of the research for this project, I gained many skills. The first skill is the management of time through a comprehensive plan. The search involved meeting with different people and this meant I had to stick to a strict schedule to avoid missing appointments. Through this project, I have enhanced my study and writing skills. I have learnt how to organize my thoughts into achieving the objectives set forth. In addition, I have sharpened my social skills by scheduling interviews and even requesting assistance from professionals. These skills will help in enhancing my efficiency in the future projects.
CBTRUS. (2014). 2014 CBTRUS Fact Sheet. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from A Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States website: http://www.cbtrus.org/factsheet/factsheet.html
Frei, P. P.-J. (2011). Use of Mobile Phones and Risk of Brain Tumours: Update of Danish Cohort Study. British Medical Journal. Vol. 343 . Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6387
INTERPHONE Study Group. (2010). Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case–control study. International Journal of Epidemiology. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/05/17/ije.dyq079.short
Kundi, M. (2004). Mobile phone use and cancer. Occupational and environmental medicine, 61(6) , 560-570. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://oem.bmj.com/content/61/6/560.short
Lennart, H. M. (2014). Mobile phone and cordless phone use and the risk for glioma – Analysis of pooled case-control studies in Sweden, 1997–2003 and 2007–2009. Pathophysiology , 22(1) , 1 - 13. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(14)00064-9/fulltext#sec0095
Mark Horstman (2012, August 16). MOBILE PHONE RISKS [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3568512.htm
Söderqvist, F. C. (2011). Childhood brain tumour risk and its association with wireless phones: a commentary. Environmental Health, 10(1) , 106. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://www.ehjournal.net/content/10/1/106
The National Cancer institute. (2009). Brain Tumors booklet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/brain.pdf
The U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015). Brain Tumors. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from Medline Plus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/braintumors.html
Vrijheid, M. D. (2006). The effects of recall errors and of selection bias in epidemiologic studies of mobile phone use and cancer risk. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 16(4) , 3. Retrieved March 2015, 17, from http://www.nature.com/jes/journal/v16/n4/abs/7500509a.html
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