Smart phones and tumours

October 23, 2023

We’ve all heard about the link between mobile phone radiation and brain tumours. But can mobile phone radiation cause tumours in other parts of the body?

An interesting case study from Italy suggests that it may.

The 40-year-old man sought medical help after he developed a painful lump in a thigh muscle that grew in size over a six-month period. Doctors identified a ‘spindle-shaped mass’ inside the tensor fasciae latae muscle that was subsequently diagnosed as an intramuscular schwannoma.

The authors explain that ‘[i]ntramuscular schwannomas are benign neurogenic tumors that originate from Schwann cells, which are responsible for the formation of peripheral nervous system myelin.’ They are relatively rare.

On questioning the patient, the doctors learnt that the man had kept his smart mobile phone in the left pocket of his trousers for approximately eight hours a day. This location ‘intriguingly aligns with the intramuscular mass's location and the phone's SIM card position,’ the authors said.

Further, the man kept the WiFi function of his phone turned off while it was stored in his pocket. This means that the SIM card processed all transmissions – data, emails, messages, social media and calls.

The authors of the study were circumspect about their observations. ‘While we cannot conclusively link the patient's intramuscular schwannoma to his practice of storing his smartphone in that specific location, we hypothesize that this habitual placement could potentially have served as a risk or contributing factor.’

They pointed out that the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency radiation, emitted by mobile phones, as a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen and referred to studies showing that mobile phone radiation has been linked with reduced sperm quality.

They say that ‘it is of utmost importance to investigate smartphone carrying habits and explore potential associations with neoplasms or other health issues related to RFR’.

Where do you keep your smart phone?

Piercarlo Minoretti, Abdelilah Lahmar, Enzo Emanuele, ‘Where is your smartphone? An unusual mass within the tensor fasciae latae muscle,’ Radiology Case Reports, Volume 18, Issue 11, 2023, Pages 3984-3987, ISSN 1930-0433,

You can read what Microwave News says about this study here.

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