Cell phones and secondhand smoke — what in our environment causes cancer?

SAN ANTONIO (February 4, 2013) – In a world full of chemicals and radiation, it’s easy to perceive — aided and abetted by the Internet — carcinogens everywhere; in the air we breathe, in the phones we use, in the energy drinks we quaff.

What’s true and what we can do will be the themes of a free lecture Thursday night at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center.

The persistent rumor linking cell phones to brain tumors got a slight boost in 2011 when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that there was limited evidence of a link and recommended further research.

But nothing definitive, or even probable, has been announced since.

If people want to manage their cancer risk, they’re better off focusing on what we know for certain, said Andrew Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., a neuro-oncologist at the CTRC and one of two speakers at this week’s lecture.

“By all accounts to date cell phones seem to be safe,” Dr. Brenner said. “There are other things to pay attention to. Things within our control, like not smoking and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, will do more to reduce our cancer risks.”

Daniel DeArmond, M.D., a UT Medicine cardiothoracic surgeon, will talk about environmental risks associated with lung cancer.

The jury is still out on some things, Dr. DeArmond said, but the evidence just keeps mounting against smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

“Anything we can do to hammer smoking is a good thing,” he said.

The lecture, which is open to the public and has a question-and-answer session, will be Thursday, February 7 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of the CTRC’s Grossman Building, 7979 Wurzbach Rd., San Antonio. For more information call (210) 450-1152. It will be streamed live online at www.CTRC.net/LIVE. The lecture is sponsored by H-E-B and the Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.


The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.

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