LAKE WALES , FL (June 14, 2011) – During national Men’s Health Month in June, the experts at The Wound Healing Center at Lake Wales Medical Center are drawing attention to chronic radiation proctitis and its treatment. Approximately one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes, and the National Cancer Institute estimates that nearly half of all cancer survivors in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors.
Years after beating prostate cancer, some men will experience a hidden complication caused by the radiation having affected healthy tissue as well as combating the cancer.
“Soft tissue radiation injuries can occur up to 20 years after radiation treatment to the pelvic region,” said Dr. James Nelson, Medical Director for The Wound Healing Center.
Symptoms may include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain and an uncomfortable feeling of having to pass stools even though the bowels are empty, Nelson said.
The Wound Healing Center offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) to treat the condition. Studies have found the use of HBO to treat radiation proctitis is likely to be beneficial in most cases and improves quality of life.
Patients at The Wound Healing Center relax on a bed encased in a large see-through shell, called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. During the non-invasive therapy, they are surrounded by 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal pressure.
To address the lack of oxygen in the cells caused by radiation damage, HBO increases the amount of oxygen in the tissues to aid recovery. The pressure in the chamber reduces the size of the oxygen molecules, allowing them to easily pass through the plasma to the body. As on a plane, the only sensation patients experience is a slight pressure in the ears as the pressure changes.
Televisions mounted above the chambers play movies to entertain patients during the treatments, which typically last 90 minutes. As in experiencing hyperbaric pressure under water, treatments are called dives and, in most instances, are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans.
For more information about HBO and radiation proctitis as well as other treatments for chronic non-healing wounds, contact The Wound Healing Center at 863-679-1986. Physician referrals are not necessary.