Using a mobile phone does not increase the risk of getting brain cancer, according to a study by the University of Manchester.
The study looked at data from the Office of National Statistics on rates of newly diagnosed brain cancers in England between 1998 and 2007.
The research found no statistically significant change in the incidence of brain cancers in men or women during the nine-year period.
It concluded there has been virtually no change in rates of the disease – despite the sharp rise in mobile phone use with 70 million mobile phones now in use in the UK.
The study, published in the journal Bioelectromagnetics, suggests mobile phone use has not led to a 'noticeable increase' in the risk of developing brain cancers.
Head researcher Dr Frank de Vocht, from the University of Manchester’s School of Community-Based Medicine, said it was 'unlikely we are at the forefront of a cancer epidemic'.
He said: 'Our findings indicate that a causal link between mobile phone use and cancer is unlikely because there is no evidence of any significant increase in the disease since their introduction and rapid proliferation.'
The study says there is no 'plausible biological mechanism' for radio waves to directly damage genes, resulting in cells becoming cancerous.
However it added that if mobile phone use is related to cancer, it is more likely to promote growth in an existing brain tumour.
The researchers said they would expect an increase in the number of diagnosed cases of brain cancer to appear within five to 10 years of the introduction of mobile phones and for this to continue as mobile use became more widespread.
The time period studied, between 1998 and 2007, would relate to exposure from 1990 to 2002 when mobile phone use in the UK increased from zero to 65 per cent of households.
The team, which included researchers from the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh and Drexel University, Philadelphia, found a small increase in the incidence of cancers in the temporal lobe of 0.6 cases per 100,000 people or 31 extra cases per year in a population of 52 million.
Brain cancers of the parietal lobe, cerebrum and cerebellum in men actually fell slightly between 1998 and 2007.
'Our research suggests that the increased and widespread use of mobile phones, which in some studies was associated to increased brain cancer risk, has not led to a noticeable increase in the incidence of brain cancer in England between 1998 and 2007' said Dr de Vocht.
'It is very unlikely that we are at the forefront of a brain cancer epidemic related to mobile phones, as some have suggested, although we did observe a small increased rate of brain cancers in the temporal lobe.
'However, to put this into perspective, if this specific rise in tumour incidence was caused by mobile phone use, it would contribute to less than one additional case per 100,000 population in a decade.
'We cannot exclude the possibility that there are people who are susceptible to radio-frequency exposure or that some rare brain cancers are associated with it but we interpret our data as not indicating a pressing need to implement public health measures to reduce radio-frequency exposure from mobile phones.'