Can electromagnetic fields fight cancer rather than fuel it?

You’ve probably heard a lot of scary things about electromagnetic fields (EMFs)…

Some people think they cause everything from irritability to cancer. But the truth is, it’s still a mystery how these electric fields affect our health. Here’s what we do know for sure…

There’s no avoiding EMF exposure. Our microwave ovens, wi-fi routers, computers, cell phones, and power lines all emit electromagnetic fields which expose us to low-level, or non-ionizing, radiation.

The sun and earth are natural sources of EMFs too that expose us to higher levels of ionizing radiation.

So, we’re all part of one big EMF experiment. We can take steps to reduce our EMF exposure (like buying those little shields for your cell phone and banishing the wi-fi router to the darkest corner of our basement.) But for the most part, we have to accept that we’re surrounded by these unseen energy fields that could be harming us in some way. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news…

There are different types of electromagnetic fields. And certain types may improve your health instead of harm it. Case in point?

A new study shows that electromagnetic fields can keep breast cancer cells from spreading.

Electromagnetic energy stops the spread of breast cancer cells

Researchers from Ohio State University just discovered that low-intensity electromagnetic fields could keep breast cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.

In the study, researchers applied electromagnetic energy to different types of breast cancer cells using a tool called a Helmholz coil. Then they tracked the movement of these breast cancer cells to see how they responded.

One type of breast cancer cells was really responsive to electromagnetic energy — metastatic triple-negative breast cancer cells. These are dangerous cells that don’t respond to hormonal therapy or certain gene-based treatments.

But they did respond to EMFs. It blocked them from spreading. And when combined with certain cancer drug therapies, it blocked them from spreading even more.

“One very destructive thing these cells do is migrate to distant areas of the body,” said Jonathan Song, lead author of the study. “And what we learned here is that it seems by treating them with a certain class of electric field we are altering their potential to spread somehow.”

How to handle EMFs in the future

Now, this study was performed on cancer cells in a laboratory. The result could be very different in the human body. Still, it’s encouraging to know we may be able to harness electromagnetic fields for our benefit (rather than detriment) in the future.

But what should you do about EMFs now? Should you take actions to reduce your exposure until we have more research on the health effects?

Related: Cellphones and tablets: Radiation risk?

It’s probably not a bad idea considering the amount of EMFs we’re exposed to nowadays (and the fact that high exposure may increase cancer risk according to some studies). Here’s how you can do that:

  • Keep your cell phone in another room while sleeping.
  • Don’t carry your cell phone on your body whenever possible.
  • Keep electronic devices and appliances turned off when not using them.
  • Turn off your wi-fi router when not using it.
  • Don’t get X-rays unless absolutely necessary.
  • Spend time in nature away from electronic devices for a while (although, when you do spend time in nature, be careful not to get too much sun. The sun is a powerful EMF source too).


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Sources:

  1. Electromagnetic fields may hinder spread of breast cancer cells — MedicalXpress
  2. Electromagnetic fields alter the motility of metastatic breast cancer cellsCommunications Biology
  3. Should You Be Worried About EMF Exposure? — Healthline
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.