Radiation therapy can cause delayed soft tissue injuries, causing complications even after the presence of cancer has disappeared from the body, and drastically reducing the quality of life. Luckily, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, HBOT, has a proven track record in easing the symptoms of tissue damage and promoting blood vessel growth.
What Is Delayed Onset Soft Tissue Damage?
Roughly half of the patients diagnosed with cancer will receive radiation therapy as treatment, and of those, 5% – 15% may suffer more severe radiation complications. While radiation therapy is an effective manner of treatment, some cancer survivors are left with delayed onset radiation damage.
During radiation treatment, the required dose of radiation is administered to the core of the malignant mass, and subsequent smaller doses are given further away from the mass’s center. The unfortunate consequence of having the radiation dose close to healthy cells is the potential for damage to non-malignant tissue. Acute and subacute radiation damage can show up during or soon after radiation treatment, and delayed radiation treatment can come into effect from six months after a treatment session.
Injuries to the treatment area six months after radiation treatments are over, such as trauma or surgery, cause soft tissue damage that is classed as ‘delayed onset.’ Cell death, DNA damage, and endarteritis (inflammation of the lining of arteries) are all common side effects of delayed onset radiation damage. Because of the surrounding tissue’s blood supply being damaged, the soft tissue surrounding the site struggles to take in the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrients for optimal functioning, slowing the healing process.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Help
The effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on delayed soft tissue injuries due to radiation has been widely studied. Combined with standard wound care practices, HBOT is a treatment that has been marked to provide successful outcomes in the healing process of the late effects of radiation therapy (LERT).
Increased Blood Vessel Growth
Soft tissue damaged by radiation has difficulty transporting oxygen and nutrients to support healing. The benefits of HBOT mean that the growth of blood vessels is enhanced, allowing your body to circulate oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area with increased efficiency.
Improved Oxygen Levels
By using HBOT to provide 100% oxygen to your bloodstream under pressure, the surrounding cells can accept oxygen more easily, promoting tissue regeneration. The extra boost that hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers can help kick start healing, easing the process of soft tissue recovery in already damaged areas.
HBOT can also be recommended in cases where surgery on the previously irradiated area is due to take place.
It is vital that any soft tissue injury is assessed by a professional for a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan, as wound care isn’t one size fits all. A comprehensive treatment plan comprising HBOT sessions, medication, exercise, and proper nutrition is needed to raise the likelihood of effective treatment.
HBOT can aid in reducing the symptoms of prostate cancer treated with radiation, offering more benefits than just soft tissue damage repair. During radiation treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy also serves to reduce inflammation and swelling.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy With RegenQuest
At RegenQuest, we strive to provide a systemic approach to wound care, covering all the aspects of your treatment with care and years of experience behind us. Our medical practitioners are here to help you achieve your treatment goals and improve your quality of life when recovering from radiation-caused delayed onset tissue damage. Contact us today at (954) 571-9392 and schedule a consultation to see how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help you.