Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps treat cancer side effects
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Side effects of cancer treatment can occur years later but a newer way to treat it from the inside out is showing great success.
The team at Mercy Health Fairfield Hospital says it can be life changing.
"I had to go to radiation for 50 days and five of those treatments were internal radiation," said Katheryn Sivrais.
Sivrais had radiation after a diagnosis of both breast and cervical cancer. "They tell you ahead of time, it is killing the cancer cells, but it is also going to damage good tissue."
Her surgeon Dr. James Fitzpatrick said, "She was cured of the cervical cancer, but the collateral damage was to the bladder which was right next to the cervix."
Katheryn turned to hyperbaric oxygen therapy. "It's 100 percent oxygen at a higher atmospheric pressure."
The treatment has been around for a number of years and used in general wound healing, usually for those with diabetes. But in this case, Sivrais been able to heal wounds inside her body. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy appears to reverse what's called vascular compromise that can result from radiation treatment. It is delivered two hours a day, five days a week.
"Patients will typically see improvement after 12 to 15 treatments, but we find that there's a higher success rate when they go to 40 treatments or more," said Dr. Fitzpatrick.
During treatment time patients can watch TV or movies, or take a snooze. When therapy is finished, studies show at least six out of ten have results similar to Sivrais, no more pain and complete tissue and organ healing.
There's not really a downside to this therapy but no one therapy works for everyone.
In most cases, it is covered by medical insurance plans.
There are several hospitals and health systems now in our area which offer this kind of therapy.