Personal radio use and cancer risks among 48,518 British police officers and staff from the Airwave Health Monitoring Study

Br J Cancer. 2019 Feb;120(3):375-378. doi: 10.1038/s41416-018-0365-6. Epub 2018 Dec 26.


Background: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) from mobile phones have been classified as potentially carcinogenic. No study has investigated use of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA), a source of RF-EMF with wide occupational use, and cancer risks.

Methods: We investigated association of monthly personal radio use and risk of cancer using Cox proportional hazards regression among 48,518 police officers and staff of the Airwave Health Monitoring Study in Great Britain.

Results: During median follow-up of 5.9 years, 716 incident cancer cases were identified. Among users, the median of the average monthly duration of use in the year prior to enrolment was 30.5 min (inter-quartile range 8.1, 68.1). Overall, there was no association between personal radio use and risk of all cancers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.93, 1.03). For head and neck cancers HR = 0.72 (95% CI: 0.30, 1.70) among personal radio users vs non-users, and among users it was 1.06 (95% CI: 0.91, 1.23) per doubling of minutes of personal radio use.

Conclusions: With the limited follow-up to date, we found no evidence of association of personal radio use with cancer risk. Continued follow-up of the cohort is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Police
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology