Mobile phone and Brain tumor
Acoustic Neuromas (AN) are slow-growing benign tumors of the acoustic nerve, the eighth cranial nerve, which is responsible for balance and head position as well as hearing.
Radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones can be concentrated to the tissues closest to the handset, which includes the auditory nerve. The ear and brain acts like an antenna and receiver.
AN occurs in less than one adult per 100,000 per year. As per a Swedish study, the risk of acoustic neuroma was almost doubled for persons who started to use their mobile phone at least 10 years prior to diagnosis. When the side of the head on which the phone was usually held was taken into consideration, 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.
This study, involving 150 acoustic neuroma patients and 600 healthy people, is one of at least six studies of possible links between cell phone use and acoustic neuromas.
What causes the tumor?
RF exposure causes DNA damage. The cells with abnormal DNA survive and can multiply, increasing the probability of developing cancer (brain tumor).
How is it diagnosed?
A patient may be suspected of having an acoustic neuroma if a hearing test reveals sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss in one ear. It is important to note that most people with such hearing loss do not have an acoustic neuroma. Currently, the best way to diagnose an acoustic neuroma is with an MRI scan. This is an MRI scan showing an Acoustic Neuroma of the left vestibular nerve. This patient complained of diminished hearing in the left ear, and had no other problems. His audiogram showed mild nerve hearing loss on the left.
How quickly will an acoustic neuroma grow?
Acoustic neuromas are very slowly growing tumors. Growth is usually over several years. These tumors are benign- not cancer, and they will not spread to other areas. Symptoms are caused by pressure on nearby structures as the tumor grows.
What are the potential treatments for an acoustic neuroma?
The common recommendation for an acoustic neuroma is surgical removal, to prevent further neurological problems from future growth.
How are these tumors removed?
The tumors are removed by a team of surgeons, including an ENT (NeuroOtologist) and a neurosurgeon. This allows for the optimal access to the tumor and the most skilled resection of the tumor while avoiding complications.
There are several approaches or ways for us to remove the tumor. If appropriate, hearing can be preserved in cases of small tumors in which the hearing in the affected ear is still functional. A middle fossa approach is used for hearing preservation. In this approach the neurosurgeon and the neurotologist combine to access the tumor within the bony canal from above. This approach allows for identification and preservation of the nerves and resection of the tumor.
If the tumor is large and/or if the hearing in the affected ear is not functional, then a translabyrinthine approach is used to remove the tumor. Utilizing this approach, the surgeons go through the inner ear and access the tumor and remove it. This offers a direct and rapid approach to tumor removal; however hearing is sacrificed with this procedure.
Another surgical approach for tumor removal is the sub occipital route, in which the surgeons come from behind the ear to remove the tumor.
What are the complications of acoustic neuroma surgery?
Potential complications of this surgery.