The Loop

Long-term cellphone use linked to brain cancer

January 14, 2015

While I'm a big believer that cellphones should not be banned from golf courses, I've never been one to stop in the middle of a round and take a call that might hold up play. But if you're a frequent golf-course phone user, a new study might give you pause.

A report released late last fall stated that the risk for glioma—the most common form of brain cancer—tripled among those using cellphones for more than 25 years. The risk of cancer also increased in young adults if they used a wireless phone before the age of 20.

The study was conducted over several years by doctors at the University Hospital in Sweden. They tested a wide range of cellphone users from ages 18-80. The amount of use was first assessed by a questionnaire (Click to read the abstract).


The doctors said while cellphone technology has changed a lot since it was first introduced a few decades ago—and perhaps the risk of cancer isn't as great today—it's still a legitimate concern because of the type of electromagnetic radiation emitted when a call is made or received. Some of that radiation can be absorbed by nearby body tissue. The concern is so valid, the National Cancer Institute even devotes a page of its website to the topic.

The doctors who conducted the Swedish study recommend using the texting and hand-free/speaker functions whenever possible. I recommend texting on the course, especially if you plan on picking up a call in the middle of my backswing.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

(Photo by Cy Cyr )