For a cancer patient, stress, pain, and overall anxiety are common companions. While some patients adhere strictly to conventional treatments prescribed by their oncologist or other medical professional to address these, some look for other ways to relieve their symptoms or to shrink their cancerous tumors. Thus far, there are only a handful of ways that scientists contend can actually lessen the presence of cancer cells or shrink tumors, though there are a number of alternative therapies that some say can do the same. Light therapy is one of those treatments.
What is Light Therapy?
The alternative treatment known as light therapy should not be confused with photodynamic therapy, which is a scientifically-backed therapy, shown to be safe and effective, used for the treatment of issues like Seasonal Affective Disorder, psoriasis, and T-cell lymphoma. Photodynamic therapy, which uses a light source, has also been proven to be somewhat effective in treating some types of lung and thoracic cancer, including mesothelioma.
Certain other kinds of light therapy, on the other hand, are not FDA-approved forms of mesothelioma treatment or treatment for any type of cancer, but rather forms of complementary therapies with which some patients have professed to have success. A gander at any sort of mesothelioma treatment guide will probably not list these therapies as they are generally not promoted by traditional doctors. These include light box therapy, colored light therapy, UV light, and UV blood irradiation.
Light box therapy
Sometimes referred to as “bright light therapy”, this treatment includes the use of light boxes, bright lamps, and light visors in hopes of relieving pain. It’s often used for migraines, pre-menstrual syndrome, or other kinds of pain caused by injuries. Some proponents also use it to supposedly reduce high blood pressure and hyperactivity.
Colored light therapy
Often called “chromatotherapy”, colored light therapy, its practitioners say, can harm cancer cells though there are currently no scientific findings to back up this claim and it certainly does not offer a mesothelioma cure. It is also promoted for the treatment of sleep disorders, allergies, diabetes, and impotence. Colored light, however, has been successfully used to treat infants with high bilirubin levels at birth.
Ultraviolet (UV) light sources (also commonly called sun lamps) are used during UV light therapy to neutralize toxins in the body, including cancer cells, say those who specialize in this treatment. It has also been used to treat AIDS and other immune system disorders, colds, and bacterial infections. Again, there are no scientific studies that prove UV light can kill cancer cells or shrink tumors in malignant mesothelioma patients or those who have any other type of cancer.
UV blood irradiation
Proponents of this therapy claim that treating blood with ultraviolet light can kill viruses and bacteria and neutralize toxins. When irradiated blood is injected back into the body, it is believed that it can entice the immune system to attack unwelcome invaders of all sorts, including cancer cells.
Do These Therapies Work?
As previously mentioned, most of these treatment methods are not FDA-approved, but if they are, they are only approved for use in treating very specific types of cancer. Most cancers do not respond to the types of light therapy mentioned above. Therefore, patients should not expect their mesothelioma prognosis to improve with the use of the majority of these therapies.
Furthermore, with UV light in particular, patients undergoing other types of conventional treatments, like radiation therapy, can do more harm than good by exposing their skin to these UV rays. Furthermore, UV exposure can prompt skin cancer to form.
American Cancer Society