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HEALTH

Hyperbaric chamber a tricky choice for cancer patients

It is used more frequently to treat diabetes and enhance recovery after complicated surgeries

The sessions usually last an hour, depending on the type of equipment (Handout photo)
GIULIANA CHIAPPE |  EL UNIVERSAL
Wednesday November 28, 2012  08:15 AM
In a hyperbaric chamber, oxygen reaches body sites it would not reach under normal conditions. Such hyperoxygenation generates multiple benefits for patients as it accelerates cell regeneration.

At present, the hyperbaric chamber is used in the treatment of various diseases. It is mostly in patients who have undergone surgery, allowing a faster recovery, and to treat sports-related, pulmonary, neurological, orthopedic and trauma disorders or diseases, as well as diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

The hyperbaric chamber has also been used in cancer patients, but in a limited and very careful way because it may backfire. As explained by a specialist in alternative medicine, the hyperbaric chamber provides indiscriminate hyperoxygenation, which nourishes and strengthens both benign and malignant cell. That is why the use of hyperbaric chambers in cancer patients is very tricky.

"Its use in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy is very limited, as their bodies are weakened," said the specialist, who declined to be identified.

A report published in the Virtual Journal of Hyperbaric Medicine, edited by a number of Spanish hyperbaric centers, documented the advantages of using the oxygen capsule in patients with advanced prostate cancer. The study was conducted at the Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras, in Cuba, in 40 patients with prostate adenocarcinoma.

The research compared outcomes of patients treated with traditional estrogen therapy versus those undergoing estrogen therapy combined with hyperoxygenation. In the latter group, over 90% of patients reported pain relief and improved movement.
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Living with HIV/AIDS (II)

At first she agreed that I use her real name, that she had no problems with that at all. After all, living with HIV had driven her to help others – as a workshop facilitator giving talks and conducting seminars, or as a volunteer for local AIDS Service Organizations like Acción Solidaria (Solidary Action) and Mujeres Unidas por la Salud (Women United for Health, or Musa), a support group network for HIV-positive women. But when we were well into the interview, the realization that she might lose her private health insurance coverage made her change her mind.

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