INFORMATION ON HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY (HBOT) for BREAST AND SOFT TISSUE RADIATION INJURY
This Patient Information Sheet is to be used in discussion with your Doctor.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used to treat several medical conditions and is a well established treatment for decompression sickness sometimes affecting scuba divers. Other conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include severe infections and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation therapy wounds.
Damaged tissue requires more oxygen than normal to survive and because hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen the blood carries, the tissue is better able to fight bacteria and infection. Radiation therapy is a common treatment for breast cancer and although complications are rare affecting approximately 5% to 10% of people, they are sometimes very difficult to resolve. hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to help the healing process for these radiation therapy complications.
This case study demonstrating the success of hyperbaric oxygen therapy was undertaken by the Wesley Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. A female patient was referred to WCHM with a history of left breast cancer excised 3 years previously, with chemotherapy and radiation as adjuvants. At approximately 1 years post radiotherapy she noticed the breast becoming harder and fibrotic, and 6 months after that the skin began to break down spontaneously.
After nearly 2 years of self-management with natural therapies, her surgeon referred her for a hyperbaric physician opinion. She was started on a 40 treatment course of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and over the 8 week course managed to reverse the breakdown and experienced a marked improvement in the elasticity of the breast skin. The patient was very pleased with the result which has been maintained at 9 months follow up.
Furthermore the patient stated that “The treatment certainly improved my quality of life and it seems that the amputation of the breast is not on the cards any more.”
Soft tissue radiation injury can also occur following radiation therapy for breast cancer and typically presents 1 to 5 years after treatment has finished. Skin changes and tissue breakdown in close proximity to surgical scars are common and repair can be difficult.
At the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine (WCHM) a 40-treatment course is offered for radiation injuries. Each treatment lasts just over two hours and is usually well tolerated.
These pictures show what can be achieved. There is evidence to suggest hyperbaric oxygen therapy can activate cell repair and this continues to be an area of research concerning hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Treatment is covered by all private health funds and has an MBS item number.
To send a referral or make an inquiry contact our specialist staff at the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine on Tel: 07 3371 6033 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Australia Government cancer Australia Statistics .Collaboration for
Cancer Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CCORE)
(2) Hampson N.B., (2010). Viewpoints: Hyperbaric oxygen and
reduction mammoplasty in the previously irradiated breast.
• Annette Gwilliam, RN, BSN, CWS, ACHRN, Dr. Mark Jensen, Marc Robins, DO, MPH, Rebecca Mackintosh, APRN, FNP-C, CWCN, Utah Valley Regional Medical Centre, Provo Utah
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