In a new study, researchers found that radiation from cell phones is linked to higher rates of thyroid cancer among people with genetic variations in specific genes.
They examined over 900 people in Connecticut and found that those with certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (genetic variations commonly referred to as SNPs and pronounced as “snips”) were much more likely to develop cancer in their thyroid, a gland in the throat that controls metabolism.
Cell phone users with SNPs in four of the genes studied were more than two times likely to develop cancer.
The study is believed to be the first to examine the combined influence of genetic susceptibility and cell phone use in relation to thyroid cancer.
The research was led by the Yale School of Public Health.
The rates of thyroid cancer have been steadily increasing in the United States and in many other parts of the world.
According to the American Cancer Society’s most recent report, there were nearly 53,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States, resulting in 2,180 deaths.
Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women and is diagnosed at a younger age than most other cancers.
The team examined a total of 176 genes and identified 10 SNPs that appear to increase the risk of thyroid cancer among cell phone users.
The study provides evidence that genetic susceptibility influences the relationship between cell phone use and thyroid cancer.
The findings suggest that genetic susceptibilities play an important role in cell phone use and the risk of developing thyroid cancer and could help to identify subgroups who are potentially at risk.
Further research is needed to confirm the findings and to better understand the interaction between cell phone radiation and SNPs within specific genes.
The lead author of the study is Yawei Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health.
The study is published in the journal Environmental Research.
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