Energy based therapies

Energy-based therapies, as defined by the Anticancer Fund, are practices that use instrument-generated energy to either eliminate cancer cells or suppress malignant growth. They encompass all non-conventional therapeutic cancer treatments based on the physical interaction of cells with the energy delivered to the body. The energy sources used employ ultrasound, electric, magnetic or electromagnetic (EM) forces, including radio waves, laser beams and rays from other parts of the EM spectrum. They involve the use of specific, measurable wavelengths, frequencies and field strengths to treat patients with cancer. We have divided them into several modes of applications. Thermal therapies are categorized into Hyperthermia and Thermal ablation according to the temperature range being used. Photodynamic therapy and Electrochemotherapy are emerging applications in cancer treatment. Therapies based on electricity include the Pulsed electric field and Electrochemical therapy. However, many different other forms of electric current with respect to frequencies, pulse-shapes and amplitudes are in use. Electromagnetic therapies consist of a variety of therapies based on devices using low electromagnetic field strengths. The majority of these therapies are still at the clinical trial, preclinical or purely experimental stage. Much remains to be learned about their mechanisms of action and efficacy. Those that are in use in regular clinical practice with proven efficacy through clinical trials are limited in availability depending on geographic location. Some of these therapies may be used either as a monotherapy or in combination with other therapeutic modalities to improve efficacy of cancer treatment.

We would like to welcome everyone to share with us relevant information or comments particularly regarding these therapies at info@anticancerfund [dot] org.

You can find information about a therapy by entering a name or keyword in the search box and/or refine your search by selecting one of the categories below.
Therapies with the icon Book icon are more extended.

Electrochemical therapy

Electrotherapy, also known as electrochemical tumor therapy, Galvanotherapy and electro-cancer treatment (ECT), employs direct (galvanic) electrical stimulation to treat tumors and skin cancers.

Pulsed Electric Fields

Pulsed electric field (PEF) therapy is a procedure using intense but short electric pulses that provoke either permanent permeabilization of cancer cells or destabilize the cell membranes and intracellular components to which the cells are unable to repair resulting in their death.


Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a localized anticancer treatment using electric pulses to make cell membranes permeable, augmenting uptake of chemotherapeutic drugs.

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a medical treatment that uses a drug, a photosensitive molecule called a photosensitizer, and a specific wavelength of light (generally infrared light) that activates the sensitizers.


Hyperthermia is a type of cancer treatment in which body tissue is exposed to temperatures of about 41-43°C to make cancer cells more sensitive to the effects of radiation and certain anticancer drugs.

Thermal ablation

The aim of thermal ablation is to destroy cancer tissue by generating temperatures poisonous to cells for a short period of time in a minimally invasive fashion without damaging adjacent vital structures. Commonly used thermal ablation techniques that destroy tissue by locally elevating the tissue temperature include radiofrequency, microwave, ultrasound, and laser ablation.

Electromagnetic Therapy

The electromagnetic therapies make use of weak electromagnetic (EM) fields. Its term is frequently used to summarize the whole field of electrical, magnetic and combined electromagnetic effects on cells.