Study sees no eye cancer risk from mobile phones

A man uses his mobile phone while waiting to cross a road outside Tokyo Station in Japan November 17, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Regular mobile phone use does not appear to increase a person’s risk of getting a type of cancer called melanoma of the eye, German researchers said on Tuesday.

The study involving about 1,600 people detected no link between the time a person spent using a cell phone over about a decade and their chances of developing melanoma of the eye, they wrote in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The findings contradicted an earlier, smaller study by the same researchers that had raised concern about such a link.

Melanoma is an aggressive form of cancer that can spread quickly. It arises in cells that produce the pigment called melanin that gives skin its color. The eyes also have cells that produce melanin. Melanoma of the eye is rare.

The condition also is called uveal melanoma.

The issue of whether long-term use of cell phones can cause cancer, in particular brain tumors, has been a hot topic, but most studies examining the matter have found no such association.

“We did not corroborate our previous results that showed an increased risk of uveal melanoma among regular mobile phone users,” Dr. Andreas Stang of the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany wrote in the journal.

“Uncertainty exists about the role, if any, of radio waves transmitted by radio sets or mobile phones in human carcinogenesis (cancer development),” they added.

Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman