Light therapy can help depression in cancer survivors.
“Depressive symptoms are common among cancer survivors even years after treatment has ended” says Heiddis Valdimarsdottir, a cancer specialist at the Icahan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
At study at the school divided participants into a bright white light and a dim red light group.
They used a light box for 30 minutes every morning over four weeks.
Those in the bright light group had an improvement in their depressive symptoms while those in the dim red group had none.
“Our findings suggest light therapy, a rather non-invasive therapy, may provide an innovative way to decrease depression among cancer survivors,” said William Redd, Professor of Oncological Sciences at the School.
Most patients face some degree of depression, anxiety, and fear when cancer becomes part of their lives. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 4 people with cancer have clinical depression.
“The good news is that depression can be treated, and bright light therapy is a potentially effective new treatment option,” said Dr. Valdimarsdottir.
The findings were presented to the American Psychosomatic Society.