Radiation therapy is a commonly used treatment for many different cancers but the treatment can also damage healthy cells and small blood vessels and this lack of blood supply can eventually cause non-healing wounds to form in soft tissue and bone.
The use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat radiation tissue damage may allow the tissues to heal by regenerating blood vessels and accelerating all stages of wound healing. The benefit of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to treat radiation tissue damage has been shown in several randomized controlled trials.
Radiation injuries should be classified as acute, sub-acute or delayed complications. Delayed radiation complications are typically seen after a period of six months or more and may develop many years after the radiation exposure. Sometimes, acute injuries are so severe that they never resolve and evolve to become chronic injuries indistinguishable from delayed radiation injuries.
Following pelvic radiation treatment patients may experience bladder problems such as urinary urge and frequency and they may pass blood in the urine. Similarly they may also complain of passing blood from the back passage and ongoing discomfort from their back passage.
In a systematic review of the literature, the Ovid medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, National Guidelines Clearinghouse, and Canadian Medical Association Infobase databases were searched for clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, or other relevant evidence.
How HBOT can help it?
Based on the evidence and expert consensus opinion The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society in North America conclude,
- HBOT is likely effective for late radiation tissue injury of the pelvis, with demonstrated efficacy specifically for radiation damage to the anus and rectum;
- the main indication for HBOT therapy in gynaecologic oncology is in the management of otherwise refractory chronic radiation injury;
- HBOT may provide symptomatic benefit in certain clinical settings (for example, cystitis, soft-tissue necrosis, and osteonecrosis);