Radionecrosis ranks among the most well researched and common uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy today.

Radionecrosis is a complication of cancer radiation therapy. Necrosis means the death of cells in bones, organs, and soft tissues. Side effects of radiation therapy may not present a health problem for months or even years after treatment.

To irradiate a cancer tumour doctors always risk damaging nearby soft tissue and bone. Delayed radiation injuries most often stem from scarring and restricted blood flow near the tumour treatment site. The linings of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract are especially vulnerable to radiation damage. Radionecrosis may also be caused by radiation overdose or by misdirected beams of radiation, whether resulting from human error or from device malfunction.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is widely accepted as an effective treatment for delayed radiation injuries. HBOT is not used for acute radiation injuries. HBOT works by improving:

  • blood circulation and so supplying more oxygen to damaged tissue
  • reducing scarring
  • increasing stem cell activity

Common treatment sites include the jaw, neck, and pelvis.

Medical science offers few other options for cancer patients who suffer delayed radiation injuries.

As more oncologists employ more powerful and sophisticated radiation therapy technologies, more patients will be healed. And more will be hurt.