Radiation treatment can destroy cancer and save a patient’s life, but it also can induce secondary injuries such as burning, infections, and in rare cases severely damage the lymphatic system or even lead to paralysis. This kind of damage is known as Hemorrhagic Cystitis or bleeding bladder, and includes conditions like pelvic wounds, vaginal fissures, rectal fissures, urinary urgency, frequency and incontinence, and bleeding. Traditional medical solutions to treat this condition, such as blood transfusions or surgery, are often painful; worst of all, experts still do not have a reliable method of predicting who and when a patient will expire these symptoms, with some patients experiencing severe symptoms decades after their radiation therapy was administered.
The good news is that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a proven (study link Riberio de Oliveira et al 2015, Shilo et al 2013 and Cardinal et al 2018), natural treatment for radiation damage. At BAH we see many people with collateral radiation damage, sometimes 20 years after their radiation treatments, and have used hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat the side effects. Oxygen therapy halts the degradation and prevents worsening of the symptoms and damage such as bone loss, infections, wounds, bleeding and pain. It also heals by stimulating bone cells to reproduce rapidly, grows new tiny blood vessels which feed healthy new cells, and causes new stem cells to grow and migrate to damaged areas. Along with growing the new tiny blood vessels and lymph system it also regenerates nerve cells including those in the brain.
We encourage people with radiation damage to seek out HBOT quickly because the greater the radiation damage the harder it is to treat - sometimes the damage can be so great that it’s even impossible to treat. With that said, we are very proud to mention that Fiona St. John, the mother of the owner of Bay Area Hyperbarics (BAH), Lisa St. John, was treated successfully for radiation damage with hyperbaric oxygen decades after her radiation exposure, and you can read more of her story below (link)
Can HBOT Stimulate Cancer? Some people worry that if HBOT stimulates cell reproduction could it also do that with cancer cells too? It is a thoughtful concern so there have been many researchers and published studies by oncologists and others that show HBOT does not affect cancer cells or tumors. That means that HBOT will not stimulate cancer recurrence or growth. They wrote “the conclusion in both reviews was that HBO did not promote cancer growth, and that the use of HBO in patients with malignancies was considered safe.” Target Oncol. 2012 Dec; 7(4): 233–242.
There are some studies that show when treating head and neck radiation injuries with HBOT there can be a reduction in cancer recurrence. The hypothesis is that HBOT repairs the damaged mitochondria in some precancerous and damaged cells. This has not been studied enough for us to know if this is true.
Pre and Post Surgical Use of HBOT for Radiation Injuries HBOT is also used to strengthen the tissues and bones prior to surgery to insure that healing occurs successfully and without complications. With radiation damaged in areas such as the head and neck, 20 treatments of hyperbaric oxygen are often prescribed before surgery to regrow tissues, bones and stabilize the jaw. Then after surgery, they are prescribed 10 treatments to complete the healing and prevent complications.
At Bay Area Hyperbarics, we have treated patients for 20+ years. HBOT has helped our patients return to normal lives. They tell us it also seems to heal their fatigue from “chemo brain” and radiation so they get their energy back.
Studies on healing hemorrahgic cystitis with HBOT show a 76%- 96% partial or complete resolution of the radiation therapy side effects. (Riberio de Oliveira et al 2015, Shilo et al 2013 and Cardinal et al 2018)
If you are interested in finding out more about yours specific diagnosis, give us a call. We can also discuss with you what your insurance covers and discuss your financial options.Continue reading
Did a physician refer you? If so, they can download and fax us back a patient referral form. If not, our medical staff will discuss whether hyperbarics is right for you.
Our medical staff contacts Medicare or private insurance to receive authorization and create a plan with you.
We do a medical intake, explain everything you need to know, and you get started on your hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions
Hyperbaric medicine, also called hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT, is a medical treatment where a patient sits or lies in pressurized chamber and breathes 100% oxygen. In HBOT, oxygen dissolves into the blood, thus raising the oxygen concentration to very high levels.This increased oxygen is a primary building block for tissues, muscle, and bone repair. Among other benefits, it kicks off cell reproduction, heals injuries and infection more rapidly, and decreases inflammation.
Hyperbaric treatments help heal neuropathy by regrowing small blood vessels and nerves that have died from disease, injuries from radiation and aging. Patients often experience numbness and or pain when they start treatment. Hyperbaric treatments most often bring back sensation and make, for example, walking easier and more enjoyable.
Current research indicates that hyperbaric oxygen does not kill cancer cells. However, there has been a small amount of research indicating that hyperbaric oxygen might reduce the size of certain tumors. Also, there has been a study on mice using hyperbaric oxygen, along with a ketogenic diet, to reduce tumors. Hyperbaric oxygen causes many different healing modalities to kick into gear. Could its effect on strengthening the immune system inhibit the growth of cancer cells? Nobody knows. There are numerous studies conclusively showing that hyperbaric oxygen does not encourage cancer cells or tumors to grow. Some patients claim the hyperbaric oxygen makes them feel a lot more comfortable and functional after chemotherapy and also during healing. Note that some chemotherapy drugs are not to be used with hyperbaric oxygen, as the chemotherapy drugs can be enhanced and thus become toxic. A good hyperbaric oxygen facility (such as Bay Area Hyperbarics) will always call the chemotherapy manufacturer to ensure that hyperbaric oxygen therapy will be helpful and not damaging to the patient.
A physician would consider using hyperbaric chamber therapy under a variety of situations. Physicians most typically refer patients to hyperbarics when the patient is not healing with traditional medical interventions and hyperbaric chamber therapy is approved by Medicare for this condition.
Some patients experience significant unresolved pain and unremitting disease states that the mechanisms of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a hyperbaric chamber are known to affect, such as the down regulation of inflamatory genes. For an example, some patients have experienced severe, unremitting hives with itching, which did not improve with any specialists interventions.
Some physicians will consider hyperbaric chamber therapy if the patient has no other good avenues for improving their failing health, and they know the hyperbaric chamber therapy is safe and will not harm the patient.
The CPT code for HBOT is G0277.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HB0T) is a medical treatment where you inhale 100% oxygen in a chamber with increased atmospheric pressure. HBOT injects 400x the oxygen into your tissues and bones and mobilizes stem cells. It regrows healthy tissues in the brain, blood vessels, skin and bones. It also reduces pain and swelling, and speeds recovery.
It is simple, effective and painless.
Medicare covers Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for approved conditions, and many insurance companies also cover approved conditions. If your condition is not approved by your insurance, we can discuss our special rates. Give us a call at (408) 356–7438. We are happy to discuss your options with you.