Is Red Light Therapy Safe for Cancer Patients?

Intensive cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, may cause tissue damage and inflammation. In order to treat these medical conditions, many people and medical experts have looked for alternative remedies.

So, with the recent boom of red light therapy, people often may try it for cancer treatments. But is red light therapy safe for cancer patients?

As many factors influence the effectiveness of red light therapy, we will take a deeper look into everything you need to know regarding the safety of red light therapy and cancer patients well as survivors.

Without any further ado, let’s get started and discover!

Is red light therapy safe for cancer patients?

Is Red Light Therapy Safe for Cancer Patients?

Although this therapy might sound scary, and some people even relate it to UV radiation, we are here to simplify it so that everyone can understand how it works and, most importantly, if red light therapy is safe for cancer patients.

Even though we need more research for more accurate results, we can see so far from all the published studies that red light therapy may be safe for cancer patients. Also, there may be no major side effects if the therapy is done according to a previously-established schedule.

Study results

In one study where researchers employed monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy in mice, they discovered that cancer cells possibly started dying when they got hit with infrared light. This process has been studied in various other animals with different types of tumors and has shown as most effective without side effects.

From then on, the scientist established that for this therapy to be safe and effective in cancer patients, the appropriate frequency of red light therapy must be in the mid-600s and low-800s nm ranges.

At these suggested frequencies, the red light should be able to penetrate the skin and reach its deepest layers, including the soft tissue, and even deeper into the muscles and bones. 

In other words, the irradiance of the device must not be under 100mw/cm squared so that the light can penetrate deep enough and therefore be effective.

How Many Red Light Therapy Sessions Do You Need to See Results?

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

To understand this therapy’s safety and effectiveness in cancer patients, the next thing you need to know is its work mechanism. 

First, when the red light gets in contact with your skin, it penetrates deep into the soft tissue, and if the red light therapy is of the highest quality, the red light reaches down to the muscles and bones.

Then, after this light enters your cells, it interacts with the mitochondria, also known as the cell’s powerhouse. The red light may stimulate and increase the production of ATP. This chemical is the natural energy your body produces and is the main resource of power to every cell in your body.

So, with the increased levels of ATP, naturally, the cells will work much better and be of a higher quality. Consequently, higher quality cells make for higher quality tissues that later make higher quality organs.

Moreover, in some studies, it has also been discovered that besides increasing the ATP levels in the cells, red light may also stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which is responsible for increased blood flow.

By increasing the blood flow, your organs might work much more efficiently, be more vital, and be more resilient to other influences such as bacteria and viruses.

How Many RLT Sessions Do You Need to See Results?

Cancer and red light therapy have a long way to go to be established as an official combo for killing cancer cells. Therefore, there is not yet any universal time frame within which a person could notice results from red light therapy regarding cancer or a particular number of therapy sessions to see those results.

The number of therapy sessions you will need depends on many factors, the essential ones being the type of cancer, the severity of the cancer, the course of the overall treatment, and your overall health.

How much time until you see the results?

What we know so far is that, as with everything, the results from red light therapy differ from person to person and are influenced by numerous factors.

That being said, one person with less invasive cancer might have faster results compared to others with a more aggressive cancer or vice versa. Many things still need to be researched and tested and, most importantly, scientifically proven.

However, if we take an estimate, many people reported that they had noticed changes within four to six months after the red light therapy. Also, remember that everyone has a different number of sessions per month, and those sessions’ durations are also different for everyone.

Therefore, besides all these ambiguities that yet need to be answered, if you find a good red light professional or expert, and your doctor agrees with your decision, you might try this therapy, take it slow, be consistent, and see where it leads. 

Of course, you will need regular checkups and scans so that the doctors can see whether there are some positive or negative changes or effects on cancer from the red light therapy.

Read More: How Long Is a Red Light Therapy Session?


So, is red light therapy safe for cancer patients? From the studies we have so far, there were no empirical contraindications regarding phototherapy in the treatment of patients with cancer or cancer survivors.

By using the red light to activate photosensitizer drugs, this treatment has potentially treated certain skin conditions and skin cancer, making the red light therapy relatively safe for most cancer patients.

Moreover, by implementing the advice and expert tips we have shared with you regarding red light therapy and cancer patients, we are sure that you will be able to utilize this therapy’s power to the max and adapt it to fit your or someone you care about needs.

We hope you have found the information you were looking for. Also, remember to ask for advice from your doctor or another health professional regarding using such therapy for your health condition.

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