Sharp increase in patients treated for brain tumors with unclear diagnosis in Sweden

An increasing number of patients are treated for brain tumor ”of unknown nature” in Sweden since 2008, but the increase is not reflected in the national cancer registry, according to the Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation. ” It is serious if the statistics on new cases of brain tumors is incorrect because the brain tumor statistics is widely being used as an argument that cell phones do not increase the risk of cancer and brain tumors” according to Mona Nilsson, Chairman of Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation.

Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation has compiled statistics from the Swedish Health Board registry’s database on the number of patients treated for brain tumors in Sweden as well as from the cancer registry and cause of death registry, during the last decade. The number of people receiving treatment for a brain tumor ”of unknown nature” increased by almost 30% only between 2008 and 2012. At the same time, the number of patients with a confirmed brain tumor diagnosis remained at a relatively stable level.

Read more: http://www.stralskyddsstiftelsen.se/2014/10/increase-brain-tumors/

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Decreased survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme associated with use of mobile and cordless phones

In a new study a decreased survival was found in glioblastoma patients with long-term use of mobile and cordless phones. The study is free to download here.

According to the study use of wireless phones in the >20 years latency group (time since first use) yielded an increased hazard ratio (HR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–2.3 for glioma, a decreased survival. For astrocytoma grade IV (glioblastoma multiforme; n = 926) mobile phone use yielded HR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.4–2.9 and cordless phone use HR = 3.4, 95% CI = 1.04–11 in the same latency category. Due to the relationship with survival the classification of IARC (possibly carcinogenic to humans, Group 2B) is strengthened and RF-EMF should be regarded as human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines. The findings are discussed in detail in the article.

WHO fact sheet on RF-EMF

The carcinogenic effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on humans was evaluated at a meeting during 24 – 31 May 2011 at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at WHO in Lyon, France. The Working Group categorised RF-EMF from mobile phones, and from other devices that emit similar non-ionising electromagnetic fields, as a Group 2B, i.e. a ‘possible’, human carcinogen. IARC is a cancer organisation at WHO.

A fact sheet from WHO issued in June 2011 shortly after the IARC decision stated that  ‘To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use’, and furthermore that ‘Tissue heating is the principal mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency energy and the human body’. It is unclear who wrote this fact sheet, but it is well known that WHO has not acknowledge a carcinogenic effect from RF-EMF in contrast to IARC.

On September 30, 2014 WHO sent a letter as follows:

Dear colleagues,

The World Health Organization is in the process of revising and updating the Environmental Health Criteria document on Radio frequency fields. A first draft has been developed and is now open for consultation by RF experts. We are seeking comments on the accuracy and completeness of its current content. The draft document is available at http://www.who.int/peh-emf/research/rf_ehc_page/en/.

The results of this consultation will feed into an ongoing review process and help to improve the content and structure of the upcoming edition. The document will be finalized by an expert group and will be published in the WHO Environmental Health Criteria series.

The expert consultation is open until 15 November 2014. If you have questions, please contact us at emfproject@who.int.

I would be grateful if you could further disseminate this information to interested parties as appropriate.

We look forward to your participation.

Dr. T E van Deventer | Team Leader | Radiation Programme | Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health |World Health Organization | Geneva, Switzerland | Tel: + 41 22 791 3950 | Email: vandeventere@who.int 

The current WHO process has been commented by Dariusz Leszczynski on BRHP – Between a Rock and a Hard Place. The chapters are incomplete. Several important studies are missing. The summary conclusions are not available. The authors are unknown so it is not possible to evaluated potential conflicts of interest.

It would be tempting to dismiss and ignore such an incomplete ‘review’. However, it is sent for consultations until 15 November, and not to rebut would be taken by WHO as a proof of good work, although the conclusion is opposite.

Mobile phone use is associated with decreased survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (astrocytoma grade IV)

The p53 protein is a transcription factor that plays a vital role in regulating cell growth, DNA repair and apoptosis, and p53 mutations are involved in disease progression. In a recent study it was found that use of mobile phones for ≥3 hours a day was associated with increased risk for the mutant type of p53 gene expression in the peripheral zone of astrocytoma grade IV. The mutation was statistically significant correlated with shorter overall survival time. The study was rather small (n=63) and no data on latency of mobile phone use was given.

We have previously reported decreased survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme associated with use of mobile phones. The present study supports our findings and gives insight into a possible genetic mechanism both for the increased risk for glioblastoma multiforme and the decreased survival.