I remember 12 years ago a friend of mine was scheduled for thyroid cancer surgery. An acupuncturist had told him he just needed acupressure, so he called to get my opinion.

I told him of course he needed the surgery.

He was relatively young, had no strong family history of the disease and no exposure to any major source of radiation... except for one. As we spoke, I found out he was using his cellphone for buying and selling for 8 hours or more every day!

Keep in mind the thyroid gland is in the throat region, right next to where he was holding that cellphone -- blasting it with electromagnetic radiation all day long.

I presumed all that cellphone use played a role in his cancer, and the studies since then have only made me even more certain.

Now, Britain's Health Protection Agency claims its own review of the research finds no link between cellphones and cancer -- but I just don't buy it. They don't seem to buy their own conclusion, either, since they also cautioned against excessive cellphone use by children.

If cellphones are so safe, why would they need to caution anyone against using them?

Answer: They're not safe. One major study found that people who use cellphones the most over a decade have a 40 percent increase in the risk of a potentially deadly brain tumor called a glioma.

Another study found that cellphones change brain activity in the region closest to the phone. It's not clear what this means yet -- but it's proof they do something to the brain.

There are enough question marks now that the World Health Organization added cellphones to its list of possible carcinogens.

Despite all that, I know most people will give up their cellphones when they give up their cars, hairdryers, and credit cards. In other words, it's just not going to happen.

If that's the case for you, then take a few simple steps to protect yourself (and make sure the rest of the family follows suit).

First, never hold the phone right against the ear. I know some people use Bluetooth devices to separate the phone from the ear, but those give off their own signals.

Instead, use the speakerphone or at least a pair of wired headphones with a microphone in them. Some new phones come with these.

Don't keep them right against your body when you're not using them, since there's evidence they might actually weaken bone, which could increase your risk osteoporosis.

And since studies have shown they can affect sperm quality, men should never keep them close to their privates.

Finally, when you get to your office or home, turn the phone off completely and switch to the landline.