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Breathing New Life: How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Supports Cancer Treatment

In the quest for comprehensive cancer care, patients and healthcare providers are continually exploring adjunct therapies that can enhance treatment efficacy and improve quality of life. Among these, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) stands out as a supportive treatment with a unique approach to healing. Utilizing a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, this therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment, a method that has shown promise in complementing traditional cancer treatments.

HBOT's mechanism is straightforward yet powerful: by increasing the oxygen supply to the body's tissues, it aids in the repair and regeneration of damaged cells. This increase in oxygen levels can be particularly beneficial for cancer patients, who often face the dual challenge of battling cancer and coping with the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

As awareness of HBOT's potential benefits grows, so does interest in its availability across various locales, including Stuart, Florida, where the therapy is becoming an increasingly sought-after option for those in the fight against cancer. Thankfully, Performance Hyperbaric is here to meet this community need as our medical clinic is one of the only medical-run hyperbaric clinics in the area. We are happy to see this growing interest as it marks a positive step toward integrating more holistic and supportive therapies into cancer care, offering hope and new possibilities for patients navigating this challenging journey.

Understanding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

girl lying in hyperbaric chamber
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be helpful for Cancer Treatment

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical treatment that involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber. This environment allows your lungs to gather more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. The blood carries this oxygen throughout your body, helping to fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.

The Science Behind Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

At the heart of HBOT is the basic principle of physics known as Henry's Law, which states that the amount of gas dissolved in a liquid is directly proportional to the pressure of the gas above it. By increasing the atmospheric pressure and oxygen concentration, HBOT significantly increases the amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood. This hyper-oxygenated blood circulates throughout the body, improving oxygen delivery to injury sites and areas with compromised blood flow.

This process has several beneficial effects, including enhanced wound healing, increased white blood cell action, and the reduction of edema (swelling). For cancer patients, the improved oxygenation can also make cancer cells more susceptible to radiation and certain types of chemotherapy, as these cells are often less tolerant of highhigh-oxygenironments.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Cancer Treatment – The Connection

Enhancing Cancer Treatment

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) offers a unique approach to supporting cancer treatment through its ability to increase oxygen saturation in bodily tissues. This elevated oxygen level can enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy by making cancer cells more susceptible to radiation damage. 

Oxygen plays a critical role in the radiation therapy process, as it helps to create free radicals that damage the DNA of cancer cells. By increasing the amount of oxygen available in the tumor environment, HBOT can potentially increase the cancer-killing effects of radiation therapy.

Additionally, certain chemotherapy drugs rely on oxygen to exert their full effect. HBOT can improve the delivery of oxygen to tumors, which may enhance the sensitivity of cancer cells to these drugs, leading overall to improved treatment outcomes.

Improving Quality of Life

Beyond its potential to enhance the effectiveness of traditional cancer treatments, HBOT has shown promise in alleviating some of the common side effects associated with cancer therapy. Patients undergoing radiation therapy, for example, may experience radiation-induced injuries to normal tissues, such as radiation burns or radiation necrosis. HBOT can stimulate healing in these damaged tissues, reducing pain, and improving wound healing.

Moreover, cancer treatments can often lead to fatigue and a general decrease in quality of life. Through its overall enhancement of tissue oxygenation and promotion of healing, HBOT can help patients feel more energetic and capable of handling the rigors of ongoing cancer treatment.

In a study published in the World Journal of Surgery in 2006, researchers explored the potential of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy as a means to boost tumor oxygen levels. They found that HBO therapy could positively impact the tumor microenvironment in various ways. By increasing oxygen levels, HBO therapy could mitigate tumor hypoxia, a condition that spurs the growth of new blood vessels around tumors. 

Additionally, the heightened oxygen environment generated by HBO could lead to the production of reactive oxygen species, which can inflict significant damage on tumors by causing excessive oxidative stress. 

These findings highlight the potential of HBO therapy as a promising avenue in cancer treatment, offering a non-invasive approach to altering the tumor microenvironment and potentially improving patient outcomes.

Research Highlights

A growing body of research supports the use of HBOT in conjunction with cancer treatment. For instance, studies have demonstrated the efficacy of HBOT in mitigating the side effects of radiation therapy, such as osteoradionecrosis (a condition where radiation causes bone death), and soft tissue radionecrosis. 

A study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology highlights the effectiveness and safety of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in treating radiation-induced osteoradionecrosis, a condition where radiation therapy damages bone tissue. 

The research suggests that HBOT can provide lasting relief either on its own or alongside other treatments. Moreover, HBOT also shows promise in alleviating radiation-induced soft tissue necrosis, cystitis, and proctitis. This means that patients experiencing these complications from radiation therapy may benefit from HBOT, which involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. 

Overall, the findings underscore the potential of HBOT as a valuable therapeutic option for managing radiation-related complications.

Another area of research focuses on the potential for HBOT to enhance the sensitivity of hypoxic (low-oxygen) tumors to radiation and chemotherapy. Hypoxic tumors are often resistant to these treatments because of their poor oxygen supply. By improving oxygenation, HBOT may make these resistant tumors more vulnerable to conventional therapies.

Another study investigated the potential benefits of combining hyperbaric oxygenation therapy (HBOT) with radiotherapy in cancer treatment. The study found that HBOT might enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy in killing oxygen-deprived (hypoxic) cancer cells. By administering radiotherapy while the patient breathes hyperbaric oxygen, there's a possibility of reducing mortality rates and lowering the chances of cancer recurrence. 

This suggests that the combination of HBOT therapy and radiation could offer a promising approach in cancer treatment by targeting hard-to-reach hypoxic cancer cells, potentially improving patient outcomes.

While the research is promising, it's important to note that HBOT is not a standalone treatment for cancer but is used to support traditional treatment methods. Ongoing studies continue to explore the full potential of HBOT in cancer care, including its role in reducing the likelihood of metastasis and improving survival rates.

Seeking Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatment?

Hyperbaric Treatment at Performance Hyperbaric

For those considering Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as part of their cancer treatment plan, finding a reputable and accredited facility is the first step. Our facility, Performance Hyperbaric located in Stuart, Florida is a medical clinic that offers medical hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy services along with other regenerative medical modalities. To get booked for an appointment, you can call us at 772-241-2763 and our medical professionals will be happy to assist.

What to Expect During Treatment

At Performance Hyperbaric, our number one goal is that your treatment at our facility is safe and comfortable! HBOT sessions typically involve lying in a transparent, tube-like chamber for a duration that can range from 60 to 90 minutes. At our facility, we have 2 chamber types. We have the traditional tube chambers as well as chambers that fit full recliners.

Each of our chambers are pressurized with air and the patient breathes pure oxygen utilizing a face mask. During treatment, you can relax, sleep, read or listen to music! Before starting HBOT, our experienced team of healthcare professionals will review your medical history and explain the process, including how to equalize ear pressure to avoid discomfort.

It's common to undergo multiple sessions or courses of treatment, with the exact number depending on the individual's condition and response to therapy. While many patients report feeling more energized after sessions, it's important to discuss expectations and any potential side effects with your HBOT provider.

Insurance and Costs

The coverage of HBOT costs by insurance varies depending on the provider and the indication for treatment. While HBOT for certain approved conditions may be covered, its use in cancer care—particularly as an adjunct therapy—may not be universally covered.

Patients should consult with their insurance company to discuss reimbursement. Presently, Performance Hyperbaric is not accepting any health insurance programs. Instead, we are operating on a cash-pay basis. The treatments cost anywhere from $125 per treatment to $185.00 depending upon the number of sessions booked. To get started with our facility, be sure to call today! 772-241-2763

The Bottom Line

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) represents a frontier of adjunctive treatment in the comprehensive care of cancer patients. By enhancing oxygen delivery to tissues, HBOT holds the promise of not only improving the efficacy of traditional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy but also alleviating some of their debilitating side effects. This therapy, grounded in decades of medical research and practice, offers a non-invasive option to support healing, reduce pain, and potentially improve the quality of life for those facing the challenges of cancer treatment.

It is important for patients and their families to approach HBOT with a clear understanding of its role within the broader spectrum of cancer care. HBOT is not a cure for cancer, but an adjunct therapy that, when used appropriately, can significantly contribute to the overall treatment regimen. 

As the medical community continues to explore the full spectrum of benefits associated with HBOT, patients interested in this therapy should engage in open and informed discussions with their healthcare providers. Considering HBOT involves evaluating individual health needs, the specific type of cancer being treated, and the comprehensive treatment plan designed by the oncology team.

In the fight against cancer, empowering yourself with knowledge about all available treatment options, including HBOT, is a crucial step towards recovery. Together with your healthcare team, you can determine the most effective and supportive treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.


  1. Daruwalla, J., & Christophi, C. (2006). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for malignancy: a review. World journal of surgery, 30(12), 2112–2131.

  2. Bui, Q. C., Lieber, M., Withers, H. R., Corson, K., van Rijnsoever, M., & Elsaleh, H. (2004). The efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of radiation-induced late side effects. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics, 60(3), 871–878.

  3. Bennett MH, Feldmeier J, Smee R, Milross C. Hyperbaric oxygenation for tumour sensitisation to radiotherapy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;4(4):CD005007. Published 2018 Apr 11. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005007.pub4


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