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Radiation Tissue Damage

Radiation treatment for cancer targets and destroys cancer cells but can also injure healthy tissue, muscles, and organs near the cancer. Soft tissue radiation injury can occur between 2 weeks to 20 years after radiation treatment and does not improve with time, in fact just the opposite.

All tissue in the body need oxygen to function. Increased amounts are required to heal injured areas. Radiation can damage blood vessels and lead to scarring and narrowing. This narrowing causes low blood flow and oxygen delivery to the injured tissue. Without oxygen-rich blood, injured tissue will not heal.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to be beneficial with this condition by delivering more oxygen to the injured tissue.

  • Delivering more oxygen to the injured tissue
  • Reducing scarring within blood vessels
  • Stimulating new blood vessel growth
  • Preventing poor healing at surgery sites in areas that have received radiation

HBOT is covered by insurance for the treatment of delayed radiation injury as it is the only therapy that repairs the damaged tissue. All other therapies only address the symptoms. Covered conditions include:

  • Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw resulting when throat and neck cancers are irradiated
  • Radiation cystitis or bladder injury from radiation of prostate or rectal cancer
  • Proctitis or injury to rectal wall when prostate or rectal cancers are irradiated
  • Skin lesions anywhere on the body that have been irradiated but commonly in the chest area from irradiation of breast cancer

Not covered by insurance

HBOT can work in synergy with cancer treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, and the ketogenic diet. It may also introduce side effects of these treatments such as chemo-brain or brain fog (inability to concentrate, focus, or think clearly), radiation sickness, fatigue, and loss of appetite. The use of HBOT to treat the side effects of radiation is to reduce the damage to healthy tissue and blood vessels.

For those concerned that HBOT may accelerate the growth or spread of cancer, the literature clearly shows that HBOT does not cause cancer to grow or metastasize but in fact may have the opposite effect.


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