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Mobile Phones Alert To Doctors
Northern Echo
Journalist: Barry Nelson
December 18, 2000

Doctors are being warned to look out for possible swellings in the heads of mobile telephone users after surgeons operated on what is thought to be the first case of its kind in the world.

A 39-year-old telephone engineer from North Yorkshire went to his GP complaining of a large swelling beside his right ear.

Because he is a frequent mobile phone user, he suspected there could be a link.

After tests at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, surgeons operated to remove a benign growth the size of a small plum on his parotid salivary gland.

In a scientific paper published in the Journal of Laryngology and Otology, the surgeons who carried out the operation warn: "With the ever-increasing use of the mobile telephone, physicians, as well as mobile telephone users, should be aware of, and be on the look-out for, possible effects of radio-frequency radiation.

"A history of use of mobile phones should also become part of routine history-taking for head and neck lesions."

The operation was carried out by surgeon Michael Edwards, assisted by junior surgical trainee Clifford Pereira.

The telephone engineer, who used his mobile phone for an hour every day for four years, and had previously used a radio transmitter in the police force, has made a complete recovery and specialists do not expect him to have further problems.

Mr Edwards said the case was the first of its kind anywhere.

The condition, called nodular fasciitis, very rarely affects the parotid gland. Only 20 cases have been previously recorded in the world, and this is the first to occur in the deep, underlying lobe of the gland.

Mr Edwards said the information had been passed to a central office which is collecting information on possible health hazards associated with mobile phones.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said there was still no evidence that mobile phones were harmful, but until more research was carried out users should consider limiting the length of their calls and use a phone with lower specific absorption rates (SAR).

A European standard should be in place by April to enable consumers to compare the SAR levels of different phones.

Parents of young people under 16 are "strongly advised" by UK chief medical officers to only make essential mobile calls and keep conversations short.

A spokeswoman for the Federation of Electronic Industries, which represents mobile phone manufacturers, declined to comment.

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