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STOCKHOLM, Oct 13 (AFP) - Ten or more years of mobile phone use almost doubles the risk of acoustic neuroma, or benign tumors on the auditory nerve, according to a study published by the Swedish Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) on Wednesday.
"The risk of acoustic neuroma was almost doubled for persons who started to use their mobile phone at least 10 years prior to diagnosis," IMM said in a statement.
"When the side of the head on which the phone was usually held was taken into consideration, we found that the risk of acoustic neuroma was almost four times higher on the same side as the phone was held, and virtually normal on the other side," the institute added.
Some 150 acoustic neuroma patients and 600 healthy control subjects participated in the study, which was the first Swedish report within the so-called INTERPHONE study, an international collaboration coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO)'s cancer research institute IARC.
"The Swedish results need to be confirmed in additional studies before firm conclusions can be drawn," IMM said.
Since only analogue (NMT) mobile phones had been in use for more than 10 years when the study was conducted, the institute emphasized that it could not determine whether its research also reflected the use of digital (GSM) mobile phones.
While non-cancerous, acoustic neuroma tumors that are not removed can grow to sizes where they put pressure on the brain and become life threatening.
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