A cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience, leaving individuals searching for the most effective treatment options. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is emerging as a potential therapeutic approach in cancer care. In this guide, we explore how HBOT works and its role in cancer treatment.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Functions
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment method aimed at increasing the body’s oxygen levels.
Ordinarily, when you breathe, oxygen enters your body, traveling from the lungs to the bloodstream, nourishing cells throughout your system. HBOT elevates the air pressure around you to approximately three times the normal level. This pressure change enhances the absorption of oxygen by your lungs, consequently elevating oxygen levels in your blood.
Increased oxygen in your body stimulates the release of natural substances, such as stem cells, which facilitate the healing process and combat infections. Furthermore, this therapy can benefit cancer patients.
Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Cancer Treatment
All cells in your body, including cancer cells, rely on oxygen for survival. However, cancerous tumors often outgrow their oxygen supply. Instead of succumbing to a lack of oxygen, some cancer cells adapt and become resistant to treatment.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy introduces concentrated oxygen into the bloodstream, potentially rendering cancer cells more vulnerable to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. It can also kickstart the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
Additional advantages of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in cancer treatment include:
- Stimulating the development of new blood vessels: Enhancing blood flow and nutrient delivery to tissues.
- Boosting white blood cell performance: Strengthening the immune system to fend off infections and bacteria.
- Alleviating pressure, swelling, or discomfort at the cancer site.
Notably, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is associated with minimal side effects, typically of mild intensity and brief duration.
What to Anticipate with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered in dedicated centers, much like South Shore Surgical’s hyperbaric medicine center. These treatments are generally painless, lasting up to two hours, depending on the individual’s condition.
During the session, you lie comfortably in a transparent plastic chamber or a specialized room while the air pressure increases. This process is usually pain-free, with the possibility of experiencing a temporary sensation of ear fullness, similar to flying or ascending to higher altitudes. This sensation can be relieved through simple actions like swallowing or yawning.
After an HBOT session, you can return to your usual activities, though you may feel mildly fatigued or hungry.
A series of HBOT treatments are typically recommended to achieve optimal results, often scheduled over several days or weeks, tailored to your specific case.
To determine if hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a suitable addition to your cancer treatment plan, reach out to The Healing Oasis by emailing us at info (at) thehealingoasis.ca