Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Part of Your Treatment Plan for Breast Cancer After Radiation?

October is breast cancer awareness month. 

In response, the entire team at CūtisCare wanted to dedicate some time to highlight some of the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for breast cancer patients who are dealing with the late effects of radiation. Just as importantly, we also hope to provide doctors and care teams with relevant, timely information on where to go to get more information about solutions for their breast cancer patients.    

In this post, our goal is to outline the basics of how HBOT treatments work and highlight some of the potential positive outcomes and treatment benefits for patients. We’re going to discuss:

  • What HBOT Is and How it Works
  • What Are the Benefits to Breast Cancer Patients Following Radiation Treatment
  • Where You Can Go for More Information 

UCLA Health offers a powerful description of the benefits of HBOT for wound care:

“For the subset of patients who suffer from late effects of radiation exposure, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is often the only treatment that can prevent irreversible bone or tissue loss or enable them to undergo life-improving reconstructive procedures such as breast or facial surgeries,” explains Susan Sprau, M.D., Medical Director of UCLA Hyperbaric Medicine. “By offering this therapy, we are able to provide a better quality of life to patients who have already survived devastating illnesses.”

That’s definitely a powerful endorsement. But what exactly is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, can be utilized as a critical component in a comprehensive treatment plan to reduce, or even reverse, some of the deleterious late effects of radiation therapy on breast cancer patients. 

HBOT entails breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment, usually in a hyperbaric treatment room or chamber. 

As the lungs take in large amounts of pressurized oxygen, the patient’s blood becomes more highly oxygenated. As the oxygen-rich blood circulates it carries more oxygen to the affected areas, such as surgical sites or previously irradiated areas of breast and skin tissue.

The treatments can stimulate the release of substances known as growth factors, and stem cells, which promote healing as well as the growth of new blood vessels. They can also help to fight bacterial growth. All of these treatment benefits promote healing.  

What Are the Specific Benefits to Breast Cancer Patients?

Breast cancer patients who have had skin and blood vessel damage, as a result of radiotherapy or surgeries, including mastectomy and breast reconstruction, can benefit significantly from HBOT treatments. 

Blood vessels can become narrowed and scarred in areas that have been irradiated. This can cause tissue damage months or even years after radiation therapy. Skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy procedures can also lead to skin loss or mastectomy flap necrosis. HBOT can be a transformative treatment in these types of circumstances.   

As Dr. Enoch Huang, MD, of online information website Hyperbaric Aware points out

“HBO2 is able to reverse some of the effects of radiation therapy by stimulating blood vessel growth in previously irradiated tissue. This can (also) be used before and after surgery to increase the chance of healing. “

-Enoch Huang, MD, MPH&TM, FACEP, FUHM, FACCWS

That’s great news for doctors, patients, and breast cancer and breast surgery care teams in healthcare organizations of all sizes and scopes.

Could your hospital, practice, or clinic benefit from improved breast wound care capabilities?

See what patients are saying about the life-changing value of these treatments

At CūtisCare, we are laser-focused and passionate about facilitating exceptional patient outcomes through flexible, economical, and innovative HBOT solutions. In a nutshell, we provide hospitals, clinics, and private practices nationwide with the expertise to solve their patients’ chronic wound problems. 

Breast wound care management and hyperbaric oxygen therapy solutions provide proven treatments designed to:  

  • Improve your patients’ quality of life 
  • Reduce infections and tissue necrosis
  • Lower amputation rates

Are you in the planning phase of establishing a comprehensive wound care center, or perhaps re-evaluating your current wound management practice or program? Would you like to become a recognized wound care center of excellence? 

Or do you just have some questions about wound care and Hyperbaric Medicine? 

Either way, we’d love to share our 25 years of knowledge and experience with you. Get in touch with one of our HBOT thought leaders today!