Newspapers jump gun on mobile phone cancer link

Reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) will report links between mobile phone use and brain tumours may be true, but journalists have "jumped the gun", say scientists.

Reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) will report links between mobile phone use and brain tumours "jumped the gun".

Reports this week claimed that a 10-year study carried out by the WHO will reveal a link between heavy use of mobile phones and cancer.

The Interphone study spanned 13 countries to ascertain whether there are correlations between mobile phone use and brain tumours.

The early findings have reportedly been linked, which has sparked speculation. But even if the initial results have been leaked. there is no way anybody can tell if there is or isn't a link between mobile phones and brain tumours because the scientific research process is not complete, said Dr James Rubin at Kings College London.

"The reports jump the gun because we simple do not know the final results until the study is complete," added Rubin.

He said before any research can be analysed by scientists properly, it needs to go through certain stages.

He said the newspaper reports could prove to be true, but at the moment there is no way of knowing.

He said the findings have not been through peer review yet, which is the stage that other scientists find flaws in the research. This is essential if accurate information is to be found.

"What can happen is a paper can be submitted with a set of results, but this can change. Unless it goes through the entire scientific process it is hard to understand the actual results."

The mobile industry will assess whether it needs to make changes when the final results are published.

Mike Dolan, executive director at the Mobile Operators Association, said, "The UK mobile operators, like other stakeholders, await the publication of the overall analysis of the data from the Interphone project, so that a proper health assessment can be undertaken.

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