The jury is still out on whether cell phones cause brain tumors, but singer Sheryl Crow squarely blamed the ubiquitous devices for hers during an appearance Monday on "Katie."
Crow, who was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor known as a meningioma earlier this year, said she believed constant cell phone use may have been the culprit.
"There are no doctors that will confirm that ... but I do have the theory that it's possible that it's related to that," Crow told Katie Couric on her new ABC talk show, "Katie," adding that she spent "hours on the old archaic cell phones." TMZ has video of a portion of the interview here.
Crow's tumor diagnosis came after she started spacing out on stage while performing, had difficulty remembering lyrics and felt "mushy," she said, according to People magazine.
"I worried I had an early [onset] Alzheimer's," the singer told Couric.
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Despite widespread concern that cell phones cause cancer and tumors, the National Cancer Institute stressed that while some studies show a connection, others show no correlation between cell phones and cancer.
"A limited number of studies have shown some evidence of statistical association of cell phone use and brain tumor risks, but most studies have found no association," the institute says on its website, where it gives examples of why this is the case.
Crow took heat in June from some of her fans and cancer survivors who took offense to her Pollyanna outlook on her diagnosis.
"Hey everyone - please don't worry about my 'brain tumor,' it's a non-cancerous growth. I know some folks can have problems with this kind of thing, but I want to assure everyone I'm OK," the "Soak Up The Sun" singer, 50, wrote on her Facebook page. "I'm feeling very healthy and happy, and having a great time on the road playing with my new band. I'm busy working on my next record too, which 'm very excited about...and I'll be on the Tony Awards this Sunday. Really appreciate everyone's love and concern, I feel so blessed to have the support of all my fans, but I'm good - really! Love, Sheryl"
Facebook users told stories of their own experiences with benign brain tumors and cautioned that they can cause problems despite not being malignant.
"Your uninformed 'brain tumor' announcement has undone years of progress on awareness of meningiomas," wrote user Carolyn Freeman Simerley Forshee. "I have permanent damage ... as do most of us who listened to the 'watch and wait' doctors."
"Sheryl, I have huge respect for you as an artist and for the way you have conquered breast cancer, but your remarks about a benign brain tumour being nothing to worry about have caused great distress to a lot of people whose so-called benign brain tumours have devastated their lives," wrote Facebook user Fiona Curnow. "I am glad you are living positively with it, but please remember that a lot of people do not have this option."
Meningioma survivor Joseph Fergen had some words of advice for the recently diagnosed Crow.
"Find a doctor who you are comfortable with and who really has a lot of experience in the field. This is not a one-off occurrence. A lot of research has been done in the field," he wrote to Crow. "Keep a journal of how you feel, doctors visits, people who contact you about the tumor, etc. I still have mine. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing more of your music."
Meningiomas are usually benign and most often develop in women between the ages of 30 and 50, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Crow falls into the high end of that age range.
The tumors form around the meninges, or thin membranes located around the brain and spinal cord.
As some Sheryl Crow fans warned, benign meningiomas are not always symptom-free. Symptoms include seizures, headaches, nausea and vomiting, vision changes and behavior and cognitive changes, according to the National Brain Tumor Society.