Many undergoing chemotherapy report successes with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). In many cases, it is used to combat the negative symptoms or side effects of treatment.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy places an individual in an oxygen-infused chamber or room. Breathing in these elevated amounts are known to promote healing, as the oxygen is delivered via the lungs and circulatory system to cells throughout the body.
Chemotherapy is known to have a huge impact on a person and their entire body. Many who undergo it can experience the following:
- Weight fluctuations
- Hair loss
HBOT can help fight against some of these negative side effects, particularly infection.
“People with cancer who are treated with chemotherapy are more likely to get infections,” says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “The immune system helps your body protect itself from getting an infection. Cancer and chemotherapy can damage this system by reducing your number of infection-fighting white blood cells.”
HBOT is considered a modern, progressive way to treat persistent wounds that are difficult to heal. Many cancer treatments can have an impact on nearly every function and system in the body. Fortunately, HBOT works to restore and promote healthy cells.
“One characteristic of chronic wounds is that the wound tissues are hypoxic,” says Cochrane.org. Hypoxic essentially means that something has low levels of oxygen, and it can be in one particular part of the body or can include the whole body; this is otherwise known as local and generalized hypoxia, respectively.
Many cancer treatments work by targeting specific cells. These cells are known to split or divide more quickly than other cells, which can lead to the accumulation of a mass or tumor.
Normal cells are typically stationary or at rest. This type of cancer treatment works by specifically targeting cells that are likely to split.
Some cells in the body, however, continue to grow perpetually. These can include your skin, nails, hair, bone marrow, and even the lining of the digestive tract. Because some parts of the body have cells that are continuously producing new cells, chemotherapy can impact healthy systems of the body, as well as the intended cancerous ones.
HBOT is effective for many undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy because it works at the cellular level.
Initially used to rectify symptoms of decompression sickness, HBOT utilizes pressure to allow the body (lungs), to take in more oxygen than typically possible in a normal setting or atmosphere.
According to Mesothelioma.net, “There is some evidence suggesting pressurized oxygen therapy could inhibit cancer growth.” Certain studies, they say, indicate that when used in tandem, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may improve the efficacy of chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy.
Anyone from infants to the elderly can use HBOT and benefit from it.
To use this chamber, you enter an enclosure or room, and the pressure in the area is then increased. This is what allows your body to consume or take in more oxygen than usual. Individuals may sit or stand, and some even report going to sleep during the experience.
A person can remain in the chamber for as little as a few minutes or for up to 2 hours. It is also possible to take breaks as necessary.
Aside from benefiting those undergoing cancer treatment, other possible uses for this particular type of therapy include:
- Decompression sickness
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Delayed radiation injuries
It is important to note that while studies have been performed to evaluate the uses of HBOT, including in patients with cancer, there is no definite or conclusive evidence as to its effectiveness yet, as further studies are needed.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has helped a number of individuals find relief from a number of negative side effects associated with chemotherapy, including infections, bruising, general discomfort, and more.
In addition to helping individuals overcome these negative side effects, use of HBOT alongside chemotherapy has been shown to potentially increase its overall effectiveness.
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