Ozone (O3) is a colorless gas that occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. It consists of three oxygen atoms bound together. In medicine, ozone is used for disinfection and treatment of many diseases. Alternative therapies for cancer utilize ozone to improve the body’s uptake and use of oxygen and activate the immune system.1 What does science say about the effectiveness of ozone treatment for cancer?
What is ozone treatment?
Ozone treatment is a method of introducing ozone into the body for therapeutic benefits. In cancer patients, ozone can damage tumor cells and enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This makes ozone a potentially useful adjuvant therapy for cancer.3
Can ozone treatment cure cancer?
Animal models closely resemble the clinical state in cancer patients. Experiments with ozone therapy in animals have shown promising results. One study in rabbits with cancer introduced ozone into the abdominal cavity. Of the 14 rabbits who received ozone treatment, 7 survived, and of these, 6 were cured with complete disappearance of the tumor.3
In humans, ozone treatment for cancer has shown encouraging results:3
- Female patients with gynecological cancers were treated with ozone and radiotherapy, resulting in a faster regression of tumors and a reduction in radiation side effects.
- Male patients with prostate cancer received rectal insufflation of ozone with a greater and quicker reduction in PSA levels (a marker for prostate cancer) compared to patients who received radiotherapy alone.
- Patients with head and neck cancers were treated with ozone and showed similar survival as patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy despite having a much poorer prognosis.
- Patients with chemotherapy-resistant cancers and poor performance status showed an improved quality of life with ozone therapy.
- Lung cancer patients treated with ozone autohemotherapy showed a significantly better quality of life.
There is no concrete evidence that ozone therapy alone can cure cancer in humans, but its use as an adjuvant therapy has shown promising results.
What are the side effects of ozone therapy?
Ozone has been used in medicine for around 150 years.4 The effects of ozone treatment are consistent and safe with minimal side effects.4 However, ozone can potentially cause some side effects, such as:1
- Shortness of breath
- Poor circulation and heart problems
- Increased risk of stroke
- Rupture of the rectum due to insufflation
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) when given intravenously
The above-mentioned side effects are preventable and rare. Under normal circumstances, ozone therapy is considered safe.
How is ozone therapy used to treat cancer?
Cancer cells thrive in an anaerobic (oxygen-poor) environment.5 Ozone therapy increases oxygen levels near the tumor and prevents the cancer from growing. Ozone also activates the body’s immune system.4 Although ozone is a gas, it can be used in many different ways:1,2
- By injection (as an antimicrobial in dentistry)
- By mixing with water which can be ingested
- With a body sauna or bath
- By application of ozonated oil to the skin
- By insufflation (blowing ozone into the rectum or the ear)
- Autohemotherapy (by mixing ozone with a sample of blood and reinjecting it into the bloodstream)
The method of administering ozone depends on the type of cancer. For example, rectal insufflation may be utilized for prostate cancer treatment. A method of ozone administration that has specifically been used in cancer treatment is autohemotherapy.5
Is ozone treatment FDA approved?
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of ozone therapy for cancer. However, there isn’t enough evidence from large-scale controlled trials to support the use of ozone as a standard treatment for cancer. The FDA does not regulate or approve the use of ozone therapy.6