Disclaimer: Consult with a doctor before deciding on a treatment plan for cancer or any other disease.
Galvano-therapy is a treatment modality used in both conventional medicine as well as in integrative and alternative medicine settings. Needles or electrodes are placed into or on cancer tumor sites to deliver electricity to cancer cells. The electricity changes the pH and the electrical conductivity of cancer cells which makes them more permeable to other treatments without damaging healthy cells.
Galvano-therapy is also known as GT, electrochemical therapy, electrochemotherapy, bio-electrotherapy, and electrotherapy. Another common name for galvano-therapy is percutaneous rio-electrotherapy. The treatment makes use of thin needles inserted directly into tumors through which direct currents are administered into the tumor. The needles function as electrodes in this case, and with cancers that are present on the surface of the skin or close to the surface, true electrodes are used. This treatment exploits the electrical conductivity (or lack thereof) in cellular membranes to kill cancer cells. Cancer cells possess lower resistance to electrical currents than do healthy cells, which is what makes Galvano-therapy a targeted cancer treatment that affects cancer cells without damaging healthy cells .
Galvano-therapy was developed by Dr. Rudolf Pekar and Professor Björn Nordenström in 1969, both members of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. (NOTE: a different source says that the therapy was developed by Italian physicist Luigi Galvani in the late 18th century .) The creators of the treatment worked to move it into mainstream medicine and to make it available to all cancer patients; today galvano-therapy is available in hospitals worldwide with China and Germany being the top two countries to use the treatment .
Galvano-therapy hasn’t faced a significant amount of “bad press” or political criticism, which likely has to do with its connection to mainstream chemotherapy treatment. According to one source, galvano-therapy increases the permeability of the cell to allow chemotherapy to enter the cancer cells more easily . But, although some hospitals use galvano-therapy in this way, there are many others that use it as a stand-alone treatment rather than an adjunct to chemotherapy. According to Dr. Pekar, the primary reason why his therapy hasn’t become more widely used as a cancer cure is because the pharmaceutical companies want to make money off of cancer patients. His treatment was extremely affordable and effective, so the pharmaceutical companies didn’t see it as a profitable treatment strategy .
One website states that, in the United States, the National Cancer Control Society L.A. and the American Academy of Preventative Medicine endorse and support the use of galvano-therapy . Patients looking for no-chemo/no-radiation treatments should be aware that, because this therapy can be used with chemotherapy, cancer treatment centers in the U.S. must be vetted out. With this therapy, it’s important to check in with the treatment facilities to make sure that they’re using Galvano-therapy without chemotherapy (if this is what the patient wants).
Safety and Effectiveness
Types of Cancers Treated
Galvano-therapy has been particularly successful in treating the following types of cancer:
- breast cancer
- skin cancer
- liver cancer
- stomach cancer
- lymph cancer
- lung cancer
- prostate tumors
- metastatic cancers
- mouth cancer
- throat cancers
- esophageal cancer
- vaginal cancer
- rectal cancer
- anal cancers
Individuals with small primary tumors (less than 5cm in diameter), solitary metastases (particularly so with those on the skin or lymph nodes), recurrent cancers in the location of a surgical scar (such as that from a mastectomy), or inoperable external tumors fare especially well using galvano-therapy .
Galvano-therapy can be performed as an outpatient procedure. The primary goal of the therapy is to minimize tumor growth (or induce regression) and to eliminate patients’ pain and discomfort related to the cancer .
Under certain circumstances, the therapy may have side effects that include:
- Localized burns and skin necrosis at the injection site; infections and scarring may occur (with superficial tumors).
- Arrhythmias and pulmonary collapse (especially with lung tumors if the electrode needles are placed by the heart).
- Abdominal pain for up to 7 days and/or bleeding in the abdominal cavity (with the treatment of liver tumors).
- Temporary increase in body temperature of up to 100.4°F (38°C) .
Patients with tumors and metastases at critical locations (heart, eyes, brain, blood, etc.), toddlers who are yet unable to communicate with doctors administering treatment, individuals with mental illness, pregnant/breastfeeding women, and individuals with metallic foreign bodies at the treatment area should not be treated with galvano-therapy. Individuals with pacemakers should contact a specialist before beginning treatment with galvano-therapy .
Individuals with metastases to lymphatic areas throughout the body and bone metastases, along with those whose cancers have previously been treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation will experience limited benefit using this treatment. It may still be a beneficial treatment, but the results will be less significant .
It should be noted that, despite the information listed above regarding possible adverse effects using galvano-therapy, another source states that there are no side effects and that the treatment isn’t painful . Yet another source says that patients will experience a stinging sensation when the electrical current is active and that this pain may be controlled using local injections of lidocaine, xylocaine, or other local anesthesia .
The authors of this website don’t advocate for the use of needles or surgery in the treatment/management of cancer. Disturbance of a tumor through insertion of needles, removal via surgery, or even through taking a sample can cause metastases to other parts of the body. Cancer cells may be released into the blood stream and/or surrounding areas near the tumor site and then travel to other organs. Galvano-therapy uses needles (except in the treatment of superficial cancers), so the possibility exists that cancer metastases could occur from this treatment . However, one website explains that the electrical currents used in this treatment effectively seal any possible exit routes that cancer cells may take toward metastasizing .
How Galvano Therapy is Administered
Currents between 30-80 mA (milliamperes, or current units) are administered into tumors for different periods of time depending on the size of the tumor, the amount of flow in the tumor, and the amount of current to be applied during the treatment. These currents can also be measured in volts; currents used in galvano-therapy are generally 10 volts or less. Local anesthesia may be used to minimize stinging sensations from the electrical currents if necessary. Each treatment session lasts between 10-90 minutes .
Galvano-therapy changes the pH of cancer cells using electrical currents. Electrical conductivity is said to be higher in cancer cells than in healthy cells, which makes it possible to avoid damaging surrounding healthy tissue during this treatment. Healthy cell membranes have a higher resistance to electrical currents than do the membranes of cancer cells. The electrical current from the cathode needle sends positively charged ions into the tumor while negative ions flow out from the anode (the other needle). This results in a change in pH and the subsequent depolarization of the cancer cell membranes. The depolarization allows other cancer fighting materials to enter the cell and kill it. It also results in the release of hydrochloric acid that establishes a metabolic disease in the tumor cell that triggers cell death, thus effectively killing the cancer .
After cancer cell death, the dead cancer cells are processed by the body through the body’s natural breakdown processes. Through this healing process whereby the body cleanses away the dead tissue it may be possible that immune cells can create memories of the dead cells and effectively recognize cancer in the future. Patients have minimal pain after treatment because of the numbing sensation that the electrical currents have on the sensory nerve fibers. Like with many treatments, an inflammatory response is normal following this cancer treatment, and after inflammation goes away the site of the tumor is cleared naturally by the body’s processes .
Other Important Information
Clinics that offer Galvano-therapy include:
Medical Center Germany
+49 (0) 69 63 20 00
New Hope Integrative Cancer Center
Tel Aviv, Israel
+972 35 46 77 33
*This clinic uses galvano-therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy treatment.
St. George Hospital
Bad Aibling, Germany
+49 (0) 80 61 39 80
Hyperthermia Centre Hannover
+49 (0) 511 66 30 28
+49 (0) 511 66 30 28 27
Dr. Kleef Hyperthermie
+43 15 85 73 11
 Ralf Kleef Hyperthermie (n.d.) Galvano-therapy. Retrieved June 25, 2018 from: http://www.dr-kleef.at/en/galvano-therapy
 Tohme, Samer; Simmons, Richard L.; Tsung, Allan (2017). Surgery for Cancer: A Trigger for Metastases. Retrieved May 3, 2018 from: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/77/7/1548.full.pdf
 New Hope (2015). Galvanotherapy: Cancer treatment using direct electric current. Retrieved June 25, 2018 from: http://www.hyperthermia.net/en/galvanotherapy/
 N.A. (n.d.). Galvano therapy. Retrieved June 25, 2018 from: https://www.docgermany.com/therapies/cancertreatments/galvano-therapy
 Walker, Morton (2001). Galvanotherapy Percutaneous Bio-Electrotherapy for the Elimination of Malignant Tumors. Retrieved June 25, 2018 from: http://www.alternativehealth.co.nz/cancer/articles/galvonic.htm
 Healing Cancer Naturally (2018). Healing Cancer with Electricity. Retrieved June 25, 2018 from: http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/greatesthits4.html
 St. George Hospital (2017). Galvano- or Electrochemical Tumor Therapy (ECT). Retrieved June 25, 2018 from: https://www.st-george-hospital.com/therapies/galvano-electrochemical-tumor-therapy-ect/
 Seeßle, Stephan (2018). Electrochemical Tumor Therapy (ECT) for Malignancies. Retrived June 25, 2018 from: http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/greatesthits4.html