Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Cancer

Image by tee1036 from Pixabay 

Excerpt from the overview document to be found on the download and resource page. By: Hayden Dunstan. Copyright 2018 ©


Cancer and Radiotherapy:


In 2012 a review of HBOT and cancer studies was undertaken by Ingrid Moen and Linda E. B. Stuhr entitled: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and cancer—a review from Targeted Oncology. – Moen Et al. – 2012 [7]
The review concluded that despite previous beliefs that HBOT was a cancer promoter and tumour grower, it was in fact safe and patients reviewed that had undergone HBOT suffered no significant growth in tumours. The insert confirms:



The same year (2012), I was asked by a family member if HBOT would help her stage 4 liver cancer. I said no, it would grow the tumours. Accordingly, she never investigated it further. Pursuant to that, I followed up and made enquiries and discovered that my original thought of increased vascularisation would cause tumours to grow more rapidly was indeed wrong. If only I had been aware of the review sooner.
The report establishes that no evidence exists that HBOT promotes angiogenesis in cancer tissue, contrary to former beliefs that it would accelerate vascularisation of tumour tissue resulting in accelerated growth. It does do in normal tissue and wounds which are aerobic tissues. However, the cited studies in this paper establish that an anti-angiogenesis effect is noted in tumour tissue, which is anaerobic, with incidents of inhibitory effects in mammary tumours and at least one glioma model.



Angiogenesis and vascular recruitment (neovascularisation) is not evident in tumours following HBOT.
The reason is that cancer and tumour growth is anaerobic. Similar to what we discussed regarding anaerobic viruses and bacteria.
Cancer cells reproduce in an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment. It has been suggested and studied since 2012 that HBOT can actually inhibit tumour growth and could potentially, along with other therapies, be a cancer cell killer.


Additionally, HBOT is routinely used, “off-label”, for the treatment of tissue damage caused by radio therapy. Especially in cases of esophageal cancer, which too, I am very personally familiar and acquainted with. Head and neck cancers benefit greatly in preserving as much tissue as possible following radiotherapy on the basis discussed under wound healing. The preservation of this tissue, if not a life saver, is certainly a quality of life provider. If patients can avoid some tissue damage at least they can retain better functions such as speech, breathing and so forth, providing an improvement in quality of life. HBOT will also effectively manage inflammation and as a knock-on effect, pain, as already discussed, reducing the need for debilitating pain medications.


Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com


Additionally, HBOT is considered a chemo-facilitator. Pre-conditioning is fast becoming a topic of research. Before operations, radio therapy and so on, patients are pre-conditioned with a HBOT session prior to tissue damage. The increased oxygen tension in tissues following treatment aids healing and reduces damage. HBOT is easily given hours prior to surgery or radiation therapy. It’s easier than taking an X-ray for example, or other relatively routine procedures. It’s low tech by comparison. As a chemo-facilitator, HBOT pre-conditions the body for chemotherapy to be better targeted and more effective.


Hypoxia is described as an important factor in chemotherapy resistance. Hypoxia mediated response to chemotherapy has been ascribed to: altered cellular metabolism reducing drug cytotoxicity; the redox state, meaning that oxygen is required to generate ROS to be maximally cytotoxic. Additionally, cytoxicity is important in achieving maximal effect. Tumour tissue anatomy affects transport of intravenously administered substances to the cancer cells determining the efficacy of the drug (Moen Et. al. 2012). [7] As a potential cancer cell killer surely early stage treatment could be beneficial and improve survivability?


Copyright Hayden Dunstan

Below is a link offering validation and support for selective use of HBOT from McMillan Cancer Support.

Image by tee1036 from Pixabay 

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