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Cellphone use & Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma

Posts: 147
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi All

I have been reading up on MEC a little.

Things have gone well for me so far, but I wanted to get a bit of background on risk factors for my particular form of cancer as I was at an unusual age to get it. Maybe it was just bad luck, but I definitely think I made some interesting connections.

It seems the only thing they are sure can cause MEC is radiation - for example people who have H&N radiation are at higher risk of then getting MEC later on. However there has been some compelling research into saliavary gland cancers being caused by heavy cellphone use. MEC is often just bad luck, particularly in the 50+ age bracket; but it is seemingly on the rise in the younger population - the mobile phone users.

There seem to be a number of studies suggesting that the parotid gland being where many people rest their phones, it may be causing cancer. Apparently parotid gland cancer in Israel for example, has quadrupled since 2001 whilst other forms of salivary gland cancer have remained steady. There has been another study in China recently with even more dramatic figures suggesting MEC is up to 30 times more likely in heavy mobile phone users.

Here's the thing you see - I am an absolutely perfect candidate to prove this. I have owned and run my own oil & gas recruitment company for the last 7 years. I have been based from home, and done almost all the calling from my mobile - all I do all day is speak to people on the mobile, often with one candidate I interview over the telephone it can be 30-60 minutes.

The figures they put at high risk in these studies were over 266 hours in total on your mobile over a lifetime. Honestly, I probably put those numbers up in one year easily. I've probably racked up 3000 hours in my lifetime And here's the thing - I have always held my phone to my left ear, pressed right up against it and the cheek; and the lump and everything have of course been on the left side.

The thing is, it actually makes me feel a bit better if this is the cause. I know many people are unlucky but my case seemed almost too unusual to just be bad luck, and I think in hindsight this is my risk factor. I think with MEC this might have been the equivalent of smoking 60 a day for lung cancer! I have of course never smoked a single cigarette in my life!

I don't feel so bad as all I've been doing is putting in the hours working to provide for my family. But I do feel that there isn't enough being done to publicise and investiage the risk. I'm not big on consipiracy theories but there are plenty out there suggesting surpression of this kind of study by the telephone companies who have huge influence.

I would like to try to help contribute towards studies for this kind of thing because I believe my case may help others in the future. Maybe its coincidence - but I honestly don't think so. I didn't realise but The World Health Authority has actually classed mobile phones as a grade 2B carcinoma - I think this needs to be brought more into the public eye.

I love my job and my business, so I have ordered a radation free, wired 'Air' hands free kit for the office and will be taking lots of care going forward about pressing that phone to my ear. I know there are probably few people who use their mobiles to the extent that I do, but I would recommend taking care as well as to how much you use that mobile.

I am going to speak to my Professor when I see him next week and tell him about this - I think he may find it quite interesting, and who knows I may be able to help some people avoid MEC? Maybe there's nothing in it, but it does kind of add up so I am going to pursue it. It will give me something to do while I wait for my next scan anyway...:-)

All the best to you all


tuffenuff's picture
Posts: 277
Joined: May 2012

next time any of my friends or family whine about my texting and refusal to actually speak on the phone i'm going to show them this post!

tommyodavey's picture
Posts: 492
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Leo,

The phone I was using prior to getting MEC was rated as the number 1 phone for radiation. That did not occur to me until you posted it.

Thing is, I really don't talk much at all on it. Kind of opposite of you and your phone. And just recently I went back to that phone because I didn't like my new one. Now you have me thinking...

But you know as well as all of us that no one can for certain blame the cancer on anything specific. It would be nice to know but we just don't know for sure.

Good topic my MEC buddy,


Posts: 147
Joined: Mar 2012

My steadfast friend who looked after me when I was in the early days of panic about my cancer, good to hear from you! I was hoping you would see this and respond to it as one of my few fellow MEC sufferers.

It won't be the case for everyone this is the cause, just kind of makes sense for my case specifically. MEC is the very rare cancer they are linking to heavy mobile phone use, I have used my mobile phone massively for a sustained period of time (and I have always pressed it against my cheek where the parotid is) and my lump was on the same side I always held the phone. I am also at a hugely unusual age for this particular cancer.

It is massively coincidental at least, in my case. I'm sure in many people it is just bad luck, maybe it is in me. But cancer is caused by either plain bad luck / genetics or people living unhealthy lifestyles. It may be that I have been living an 'unhealthy' lifestyle with the cell - just not realising it, as there hasn't been much publicity or certainty about cellphones causing cancer.

The biggest thing for me isn't so much finding the cause for my own, it is what it is and I'm doing great (although I would like to prevent it happening again). It is the possibility of helping more people avoid MEC if in some cases it is related to cellphone use. Perhaps it is fate as my surgeon is also a professor who is heavily involved in H&N research so the ideal person with whom to discuss this.

I am meeting him on the 26th June which is next Tuesday for a check up so I will speak to him about it, will be interesting to see what he thinks.

How are you getting on then Tommy? I saw you saying that much of the taste is back now, have you managed to take on the spicy Mexican stuff yet? I sincerely hope so, and that you are doing well in general.

All the best my friend


Posts: 147
Joined: Mar 2012

Texting and Twitter are the way forward! Much safer.

There are some pretty incredible facts out there about mobile phones and how much radiation they give off. Apps that tell you how much your phone is giving off whilst you are using it have been banned interestingly.

Anothe thing about me is that the research suggests that phones have to work much harder when the signal is poor and that is when they go into radiation overdrive. One thing that has always been a nightmare for me with my business has been how poor the signal has been in my house, I'm always walking around trying to get a better signal.

Like I said, maybe nothing - but I'm certainly an absolutely perfect case of someone who ticks every box. Extremely heavy cell use, correct side for the tumour, specific type of unusual cancer directly linked with cellphone use unusual age, poor signal all the time so my phone has been working harder than most and giving off more radiation.

Hope everything is going OK for you tuffenuff, wish you all the best


Posts: 147
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Tommy

Wonder if you can answer a question actually - seem to remember you had one parotid taken out (and another moved). How was the parotid removal? In terms of the other surgery, and also the effect on saliva etc? Has it had a major effect on you?

I see my specialist next Tuesday, and I'm wondering whether it would be an idea to have one of mine removed. If my theory was right about the cellphone it would be in there. Even if I'm wrong from reading up on MEC 80% of this form of cancer are found in the major parotid gland anyway.

With other sites having been ruled out (BOT, tonsil) then it seems even more likely if there is one it's there. I'm wondering with me being clear at the moment and just having scans whether volunteering for more surgery is a good idea! But at the same time it would take away the uncertainty if we found it in there, and hopefully that would be the end of it with it being so small. I will speak to my onc about it.

I imagine he will say let's do the scans in 2 months then take it from there, but we will see. Interested in the practicalities of this type of surgery from someone who had gone through it, so I would know what I was letting myself in for!

All the best


tommyodavey's picture
Posts: 492
Joined: Nov 2011

Hey Leo,

Yes, they took out my right one during the neck dissection. My Dr. said that there was no reason to leave it in because RT would destroy it anyway.

Lucky for me he did move my left one closer to my chin. At least that is what he said and I may even have some facts wrong. As you well know, when we are in the beginning stages of treatment our minds just aren't remembering quite correctly. My wife came with me several times to write things down so I wouldn't forget them. But to the best of my knowledge that is what occurred.

My saliva is 50% of what it used to be. At night I now have a very dry mouth that wakes me up often. For some weird reason I can't seem to generate saliva lying down. I'll try and try and nothing. Then I'll get up and voila, it works again.

Most of the day I try to keep my mouth closed so I don't lose saliva. Maybe sucking on a button would help but I haven't been that desperate yet! I do feel very lucky to have 50% and maybe over the years it will get better. Maybe the one I have left will work harder to compensate but I can't say one way or another.

If I were you I'd leave well enough alone. Your doctors know what they are doing. My Dr. did say that if I didn't have RT then I risk it coming back and that it may come back where it would be tough to get it out. But now having RT I'm good and don't worry much about a recurrence.

I think that answers it, yes?


ValeIT's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Feb 2013

Hello, I'm Italian ...

about a year ago I found out I have a low-grade MEC.

Now all is well, no chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Magnetic resonance clean.

I see this post by chance today.

I made use of mobile phones from years' 90 and I have worked for companies in the telecommunications sector

I have no other risk factors:

I do not smoke (only a few cigarettes over 10 years ago), oral hygiene perfect, no problems to the teeth with the exception of an impacted tooth ... over the tooth have identified a mucoepidermoid tumor of a minor salivary gland.

Perhaps it is true that cell phones can cause this cancer.

I used these ETACS and GSM for a long time.

I hope it is understandable what I write, I use the online translator.

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2015

I just stumbled across this. Had surgery 4 months ago to remove my right parotid. Need biopsy was negative before the surgery, but afterward, I was informed the pathology report showed it was cancerous. Big shock for me.

They told me the margins were clean, and all surrounding tissue was clean - so I'll get checked every 6 months to make sure it hasn't spread, or doesn't come back.

And yes, that is the side of my face that I hold my cell phone. I work in Information Technology, and have been carrying a cell phone since 1995. I have to say I don't hold it to my face that frequently, or that long when I do (short phone calls), but I guess over 23 years, the exposure could be an impact. I STRONGLY suspect cell phone use as the cause for this, but who knows?


ValeIT's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Feb 2013

Hello, there are strong suspicions that radiation from mobile phones can cause cancer.

But this hypothesis will never confirmed. There are too many commercial interests ...

Sorry if I ask, but what kind of degree was the parotid gland cancer?

Now how are you?

Mikemetz's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Nov 2011

I had MEC/base of tongue/left side in 2009.  Up until then, and even now, I consider myself a very light cell phone user, and the little I do use it, it's on my right side. 

MEC is very rare--probably too rare to study its causes with any confidence.

I attribute my rare MEC to what I call SFL.  The L stands for Luck--you can figure out the S and F with a little thought<*** src="/sites/all/libraries/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/***/smiley-wink****" alt="Wink" title="Wink" border="0" />




Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2015

It's very difficult to attribute behaviours to cancer with any kind of certainty.  I had zero risk factors for tongue cancer.  Of course I could go back and look to see if anything out there seemed to correlate, but correlation is not causality.  We don't know how many heavy cell phone users there and how many get cancer.  Looking at people in public, I would think there would be massive cancer cases, not a rarity thereof.  I do know that in my case, had there been risk factors, I was told the treatment would not have been aggressive because the "cause" could be removed.  I wondered if that was wise since there is rarely one factor alone and cancer cases varies from person to person.  I agree with ValeIT that the causes of cancer are very complex and it's hard to know.  

That being said, if using a cell phone makes one worry about cancer, it's best to go with an alternative such as the speaker phone, etc.  No point in making one's self worried, even if there's little or no risk.  I do worry that telling people that cell phones can cause cancer because you had it and used a cell phone may cause them undue worry.  People want to know "why" but sometimes there just isn't a "why" available.

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