Photobiomodulation therapy

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) helps to reduce inflammation of the lining of the mouth, a common side effect experienced by patients with head & neck cancer.


What is PBMT?

PBMT uses a low-intensity laser beam aimed at various parts of your mouth, helping to reduce Oral mucositis (OM) which is when the lining of your mouth becomes inflamed – a common side effect of radiotherapy and chemo-radiotherapy treatment for head & neck cancer.

OM can be painful. You may have difficulty swallowing. You may also lose weight. In some cases, you might need to have additional medication, or even a feeding tube, as well as more frequent appointments with your multidisciplinary head & neck team.

How can PBMT help?

PBMT is an effective treatment that can reduce the severity and duration of OM. It’s been used for more than 20 years to help reduce this side-effect in patients with head & neck cancers.

It can help by:

  • Encouraging the tissues inside the mouth to heal
  • Reducing inflammation and risk of ulcers
  • Enabling you to swallow more comfortably
  • Reducing pain (so you don’t need to take as much pain relief medicine)
  • Making it less likely that you’ll need to be fed via a tube
  • Improving your quality of life

How does PBMT work with my radiotherapy treatment?

You’ll receive your first PBMT treatment a couple of hours before your first radiotherapy session. Then around 30 minutes before all other radiotherapy sessions. It’s delivered by specially trained PBMT radiographers and takes approximately 30 minutes. You will be asked to wear goggles to ensure your eyes are protected during each treatment.

We advise that you should avoid alcohol and not smoke throughout the course of your treatment. We also provide access to a dietician to assist you.

Are there any side-effects from PBMT?

PBMT is painless, and there are no known side-effects.

Where can you have PBMT?

You can be treated with PBMT at our Southhampton centre:

Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY

Telephone: 0238 189 0624

We have free on-site parking.

Learn more

Meet our doctors


Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

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