Half of the people diagnosed with cancer today receive radiation therapy. Many of them will experience stubborn, sometimes painful side affects because of the treatment. Until recently, there wasn't much that could be done to help. Serese Cole tell us how oxygen therapy has changed that in this month's Health Check report.
Alan Gisler, "Man, I was a sick dog, I thought I was going to pass away, but the good Lord said no this isn't your time."
Alan Gisler survived prostate cancer, but like so many patients, his treatment created more problems.
Dr. Ansar Khan, "It's very effective in treating cancer, but long term... years down the road, sometimes radiation will also decrease the blood supply to the tissues that were exposed to radiation."
For Gisler that meant skin, in the area treated by radiation, was literally dying and couldn't heal. Dr. Khan believed the Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber would help. Doctors say it's the only known way to reverse the negative effects of radiation therapy.
Dr. Stephen Dreyer, "The individual is in a pure oxygen environment, under pressure and it literally forces oxygen into the body tissues and saturates it with oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen stimulates the growth of brand new small blood vessels that then lay down the the building blocks for healing - and healing occurs. It doesn't happen in everyone - it's not a magic bullet, but it does help a high percentage of people."
Serese Cole, "Most patients who have this treatment have it 30 to 40 times , 90 minutes each session. Once inside they can rest, watch TV - then let the oxygen do the rest."
Gisler, "You don't think anything is happening. Over time, all those areas that were really bad on me started to heal."
A pain-free solution to a problem he wasn't sure would ever be solved.
Dr. Khan says out of his 14 patients who had bleeding in the their bladder due to radiation treatment - all 14 had positive results after Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. The treatment can also help heal surgical wounds and stubborn ulcers caused by diabetes.