NEW YORK (MainStreet) — When the neurologist discovered the tumor in Stuart Cobb’s brain earlier this year, he had three pressing questions for his patient.
“Do you work with dangerous chemicals?”
“Have you been exposed to radiation?”
To the best of his knowledge, Cobb hadn’t.
“Do you use a cell phone often?”
Surprised by the question, Cobb initially answered by saying no. But then his wife, Kristen, blurted out: “You’re on your cell phone all the time!”
Cobb admitted his wife was right. In fact, Cobb, who was just 35 years old at the time, would qualify as a cell phone addict.
He purchased his first phone when he was 19, and worked part-time at a car wash to pay for it, since cell phones were expensive back then. In the 15-plus years since, Cobb says he has owned more than 30 different cell phones.
“I always wanted the latest greatest thing,” he told MainStreet. “I always liked having new gadgets.”
Indeed, Cobb, who has worked as a plumber in Portland, Maine, for ten years, needed to be on his cell phone constantly for his job to communicate with his coworkers and clients while running between houses.
Hearing this, Cobb’s neurologist posed another question: “Which side of your head do you usually place the cell phone to?”
Cobb explained he’s right-handed, and almost always presses the phone against that side of his head. Sure enough, the brain tumor was on the right side of his brain.
To date, there is no conclusive evidence linking cell phones to brain cancer. One paper published last year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute refuted any link between the two outright, while another long-term study out this year suggested there was a slight possibility that cell phones cause brain cancer, but that it required more investigation to prove a connection.
So the verdict, according to every major health organization from the Federal Drug Administration to the World Health Organization, is that cell phones are safe, for now.
But for Cobb and his wife, who works as a medical transcriptionist, their experience has led them to conclude there must be a link. Stuart was an otherwise healthy 30-something man with no history of brain cancer in his family. Of all his relatives, only his grandmother suffered cancer of any kind (skin cancer). Moreover, several of the doctors Cobb consulted suggested the cell phone may be a possible cause, though none would say for sure.