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December 9, 2021

Radiofrequency Radiation and Cancer: A Review

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Physical Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
JAMA Oncol. 2022;8(3):456-461. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.5964

Importance  Concerns over radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and carcinogenesis have long existed, and the advent of 5G mobile technology has seen a deluge of claims asserting that the new standard and RFR in general may be carcinogenic. For clinicians and researchers in the field, it is critical to address patient concerns on the topic and to be familiar with the existent evidence base.

Observations  This review considers potential biophysical mechanisms of cancer induction, elucidating mechanisms of electromagnetically induced DNA damage and placing RFR in appropriate context on the electromagnetic spectrum. The existent epidemiological evidence in humans and laboratory animals to date on the topic is also reviewed and discussed.

Conclusions and Relevance  The evidence from these combined strands strongly indicates that claims of an RFR–cancer link are not supported by the current evidence base. Much of the research to date, however, has been undermined by methodological shortcomings, and there is a need for higher-quality future research endeavors. Finally, the role of fringe science and unsubstantiated claims in patient and public perception on this topic is highly relevant and must be carefully considered.

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