Modern cancer treatment protocols include radiation in over 50% of cases. This has had the positive effect of increasing survival. Some of these survivors will experience the late effects of radiation. These delayed effects impact the surrounding normal tissue and become evident months to years after the treatment protocols are over.
Radiation injury to these normal tissues results in cell death, damage to blood vessels in the irradiated field, a depletion of stem cells that promote normal healing and the buildup of fibrotic tissue. The decreased blood supply and increasing hypoxia makes surgery in these areas challenging. The soft tissues such as bowel and bladder are more prone to bleeding, and in many instances cause significant negative impact on a patient’s quality of life.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy rebuilds normal capillaries in these areas, and makes the tissue less fibrotic, enhances outcomes in complex reconstructive surgeries, reduces pain and swelling, and improves quality of life for these cancer survivors.
Multiple studies have shown the benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help heal the damage from curative radiation therapy, in the pelvic region(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035333), the head and neck (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30113763), in the lower extremity for skin cancer (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10813435) and in breast cancer survivors (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11240244).