The Healing Sun: Sunlight Therapy and Cancer

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The Healing Sun by Richard Hobday presents evidence showing an increase in disease with a decrease in sunlight exposure.  This article writes on the topic: Sunlight Therapy (Heliotherapy) and Cancer

How Sunlight Can Prevent Serious Health Problems

by Richard Hobday, taken from his book, The Healing Sun

Sunlight Therapy and Cancer


There have been a number of reports of sunlight being used on cancer patients to good effect but, unfortunately, much that has been published on the subject is largely anecdotal. One form of cancer which clearly benefits from sunlight exposure is, ironically, a form of skin cancer. This is the rare malignant skin cancer mycosis fungoides which has been treated very successfully with the sun’s rays. The results of a study carried out at a clinic in Davos, Switzerland, reported in the journal Hautarzt in 1986, showed that the majority of patients with this serious condition who underwent sunlight therapy in the Alps went into remission — some for over a year.

As far as internal cancers are concerned, few physicians seem to have actually used sunlight therapeutically. One notable exception is the American physician Dr Zane Kime. In his book, Sunlight Could Save Your Life, which was published in 1980, Dr Kime describes how he encouraged one of his patients with breast cancer to sunbathe. He took this rather unusual step following a consultation with a 41-year-old woman whose breast cancer had spread to her lungs and bones. She had already undergone a mastectomy and chemotherapy but to no avail. Dr Kime did not treat the cancer directly but, instead, introduced a programme to improve the general health of his patient. She was only allowed to eat whole foods, and all of the refined polyunsaturated oils and fats were removed from her diet. She was also encouraged to spend time sunbathing; and the combination of diet and sunlight seems to have achieved remarkable results. Within a few months the patient was back at work and in the years that followed there were no apparent symptoms of her metastasized cancer. Unfortunately Dr Kime did not devote much of his book to this episode, nor did he state how many years of remission his patient enjoyed and, sadly, Dr Kime died in 1992.

Some years before Dr Kime’s apparent success, a study into the effects of sunlight on cancer was carried out at the Bellevue Medical Centre in New York. During the summer of 1959, fifteen patients diagnosed with cancer were encouraged to arrange their own sunlight therapy. They spent as much time as they could outdoors without glasses, and especially sunglasses. They were also instructed to avoid artificial light sources and television sets as much as possible. Dr John Ott, who is a renowned investigator of the effects of light on health and is probably the greatest innovator in the field since Niels Finsen, was involved in this project. It was Doctor Ott who first alerted the American public of the hazards to health posed by the emission of X-ray radiation from television sets, and he also developed some of the first full-spectrum lighting. He says in his book Health and Light that the results of the study of the effects of sunlight on cancer patients were sufficiently positive to justify a more detailed programme of research, but that support was not forthcoming.

The world-famous Swiss sunlight therapist Dr Auguste Rollier (1874-1954) reported some success with Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer that affects the lymph glands. But when Rollier was practising heliotherapy — in the first half of the 20th century — cancer was not as common as it is today, and tuberculosis posed a much greater threat to public health. By the time cancer became a major health problem, sunlight therapy had all but disappeared from medical practice. This explains, in part, why sunlight does not appear to have been used on cancer patients to any extent.

Now although patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma seem to have benefited from Dr Rollier’s sunlight therapy, in recent years several researchers have suggested that sunlight exposure actually increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a different form of lymphatic cancer. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the fastest-increasing cancers in the UK and other countries. The reasons for the rise in incidence of this cancer are not well understood, but it does occur frequently amongst people with the HIV virus, and patients whose immune systems are suppressed by chemotherapy, or by the drugs used to prevent organ rejection after transplant surgery. Individuals who are taking immuno-suppressive drugs over long periods develop cancer much more readily than the normal population. People in this position are particularly susceptible to cancers of the skin, and so must be especially careful to avoid strong sunlight. However, as far as non-Hodgkins lymphoma is concerned the most detailed research to date, published in the British Medical Journal in 1997, could find no positive association with sunlight. So something other than sunlight may be causing it.




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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024 at 9:25 pm and is filed under Books.

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