Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


One common side effect of radiation therapy is damage to the bone and tissue in the "line of fire" of the radiation beam directed toward a tumor. The damage is often delayed, occurring six months to a year after the radiation treatment.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a treatment sometimes used to help repair the damage. (You may be more familiar with HBOT as a treatment for divers suffering from "the bends.") After the patient is placed in an enclosed chamber, the concentration of oxygen is increased to 100% while the pressure inside the chamber is increased. In this way, patients "go diving."

HBOT is not widely offered although it is approved by the FDA for treating "radiation tissue damage, enhanced healing of selected problem wounds, exceptional blood loss anemia, necrotizing soft tissue infections." Be wary, however, of claims that the therapy helps treat cancer itself, peripheral neuropathy, and chronic fatigue. The FDA has sent warning letters to HBOT practitioners who claim such benefits.

In fact, because HBOT may help new blood vessels form, there is concern that it could help a tumor grow. According to an 2002 article by Dr. Michael Neumeister of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, people taking cisplatinum, doxorubicin or bleomycin should not get HBOT.

A clinical trial sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is currently enrolling patients diagnosed with laryngeal cancer to investigate HBOT's impact on post-surgery complications, tumor recurrence and quality of life.

Interested in learning more about the NCCAM trial, go to: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00026975; jsessionid=ACD44F4D8F2C8B6660764F80F04A08BC?order=1

Hyperbaric Oxygen at NCCAM

LINK to NCCAM site info

Lufkin Hyperbaric Ctr (Texas)

LINK to Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy & Biochemic Med

Hyperbaric Treatment Ctr

LINK to site from article top of page, Randolph, MA

Hyberbaric Chamber for Lymphedema: UK Research

Source: Artemis, Johns Hopkins newsletter April 2005

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