Aired: August 17, 2018

Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

A researcher looking into a microscope in a lab. Image source: Max Pixel. Licensed by CC0 1.0.

  • Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer? (14 min.)

    With:  Deborah O’Dell (University of Mary Washington)

    Does the radiation emitted by our cell phones harm us?  Deborah O’Dell recently finished a study that found cell phone radiation can cause changes to our cells.

  • Sickness in the Blood (14 min.)

    With: Karen Ballen (University of Virginia Health Systems)

    In 2018, most people diagnosed with blood cancer can find a donor to help with their treatment. But not everyone. Karen Ballen has been working to expand the donor database and discover new ways to match donors to cancer patients.

  • It's Electric (14 min.)

    With: Richard Heller (Old Dominion University)

    New forms of electro-magnetic treatments are fighting deadly melanoma and show promise against other cancers. Richard Heller is a pioneer in the use of electro-gene-therapy and bio-electrics.

  • Healing from the Cure (10 min.)

    With: Kimberly Lane (Radford University)

    There’s a whole field of cancer research devoted just to developing medications that can help ease the punch of chemotherapy side effects. Kimberly Lane and her student team are researching ways to ease the side effects of a potent chemotherapy drug used against with colon cancer.



2 Comments on “Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?”

  1. Bill Buchholz Post author

    Very disappoining that you put someone with neither any apparent knowledge of EM radiation (no mention of ionizing vs nonionizing) nor any published papers on the subject. In fact, the effects on microwave radiation on cells are well understood, and no study thus far has shown a causal relation between cell phone use and cancer. Look at the American Cancer Society for this information before you mislead the listening public.

    1. Deborah O'Dell Post author

      I have worked in the area of EM radiation for the past 33 years and am completely aware of the distinction between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, although that was not in the piece. In the segment, I am not stating that cell phones cause cancer, in fact, I very emphatically say I do not say that in this piece, but rather my research shows that short term exposure to radiation from cell phones cause changes in gene activity in cultured cells. The genes that we looked at were those which regulate cell reproduction, and changes in these genes could change the ways cells control their reproduction. Long term changes in these genes could result in cells becoming cancerous, but so far that has not been studied. It is very difficult to show a direct cause and effect when you are working with cancer, only because there are so many other factors which can contribute to cells becoming cancerous, and cancer is usually generated over a long period of time. I will not stop using my cell phone because of my research. However, I think people should use common sense when using this technology, for example some people sleep on top of their phone, which is something I would not do, nor recommend. I do believe that continued research is needed in this area.

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