Cancer is one of the most widespread diseases affecting millions of people in the USA. This health condition is associated with painful symptoms and complicated treatment that also causes diverse inconveniences and a lower quality of life (El-Hussein et al. 149). Chemotherapy has been the major type of treatment, although it has diverse side effects and can have limited effectiveness due to cancer cell resistance. Light therapy is regarded as an innovative type of treatment that enhances the effectiveness of drugs (Chen and Zhao 21021). This report is concerned with the recent advances regarding the use of light in cancer treatment and its future.
The use of light in cancer treatment can take different forms. Light can be employed to deliver medication to the affected cells, enhances the effect of the utilized drugs, and mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy (Park et al. 79). Scientists note that light was first used as far back as 4,000 years ago in Egypt to treat vitiligo (Shi and Sadler 871). The use of light to treat cancer, which was referred to as photodynamic therapy, started in the 1970s. One of the major benefits of this method is its minimal invasiveness and a considerable degree of effectiveness.
One of its major uses is the delivery of specific drugs killing or block cancer cells. In simple terms, photodynamic treatment involves several phases. First, the corresponding medication is injected, and within a specific amount of time, the tissue is exposed to bright light (Shi and Sadler 871). Lasers or LED technology is used to deliver light to the affected tissues and cells. Light therapy is often provided as outpatient treatment, as well as an element of radiation and therapy surgery.
As mentioned above, this type of cancer treatment can be instrumental in achieving different goals. In addition to the delivery of anti-cancer medication, photodynamic treatment can reduce the drug resistance of cancer cells (El-Hussein et al. 149). Furthermore, light can be used to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy. For instance, light therapy has proved to improve considerably cancer-related fatigue in patients (Johnson et al. 214). Light therapy is also seen as a potential replacement for opioids in treating certain types of cancer (University at Buffalo). It is noteworthy that researchers continue working on the development of new uses of light and ways to improve the existing methods. Some limitations and weaknesses of this treatment type are another targets of many scientists.
For instance, some of the central limitations of the use of light in treating cancer include limited light penetration, phototoxicity when applied for a prolonged period of time, and insufficient water solubility (Park et al. 79). Scientists have also developed diverse combinations of tools to achieve the highest results. For instance, a combination of X-rays and photodynamic therapy has enabled people to reach deep tissues (Park et al. 88). One of the most effective technologies to address these gaps is nanotechnology.
The present review of the recent literature on the use of light in cancer treatment shows the prospects of this method. It is clear that light can enhance the effect of a more conventional type of treatment, such as chemotherapy. However, it is still necessary to implement further research in order to acknowledge the benefits and possible shortcomings of this kind of treatment. Although some data concerning the treatment of specific types of cancer has been considered, it can be beneficial to learn more about particular outcomes of treatment of diverse kinds of cancer.
It is possible to assume that different organs and types of tissue may react differently to light therapy, which can influence the effectiveness of treatment. In addition, it is necessary to pay attention to the reactions of different cohorts of patients. The focus can be on age, gender, and ethnicity. The chances are high that light can have a different impact on children and older people. The use of light as a replacement for opioids deserves particular attention, especially in the view of the continuous war on drugs that is still taking place in this or that form. Prescribed opioids misuse is a considerable issue that needs to be addressed, and light therapy can become an effective solution to the problem.
In order to address the gaps in the current research mentioned above, it is necessary to continue reviewing the most recent literature. It is important to analyze peer-reviewed articles on the matter, as well as publications in professional magazines. Newspapers can also provide highlights of the most recent advances in the use of light or some important details regarding people’s views on this therapy, associated policies, and public opinion. In order to access this type of information, it is necessary to review online databases and use search engines when reviewing news articles.
In conclusion, light therapy is gaining momentum due to its effectiveness. Technological advances increase its efficacy and make this type of treatment affordable for an increasing number of patients. Light therapy is associated with some shortcomings, but the therapy is still being researched and improved, so the prospects of the use of light in cancer treatment are promising. People may achieve great results and develop highly effective and painless solutions to treat cancer.
Chen, Hongzhong, and Yanli Zhao. “Applications of Light-Responsive Systems for Cancer Theranostics.” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol. 10, no. 25, 2018, pp. 21021-21034.
El-Hussein, Ahmed, et al. “A Review of Chemotherapy and Photodynamic Therapy for Lung Cancer Treatment.” Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 21, no. 2, 2020, pp. 149-161.
Johnson, Jillian A., et al. “Bright Light Therapy Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Cancer Survivorship, vol. 12, no. 2, 2017, pp. 206-215.
Park, Wooram, et al. “Advanced Smart-Photosensitizers for More Effective Cancer Treatment.” Biomaterials Science, vol. 6, no. 1, 2018, pp. 79-90.
Shi, Huayun, and Peter J. Sadler. “How Promising Is Phototherapy for Cancer?” British Journal of Cancer, vol. 123, no. 6, 2020, pp. 871-873.
University at Buffalo. “Light Therapy Could Replace Opioids as Main Treatment for Cancer Treatment Side Effect.” Science Daily, 2019. Web.