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Transforming Surviving into Thriving

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Dr. Paul Buza

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Hyperbaric Chamber

Cancer is an extremely traumatic life experience. For those fortunate enough to survive, the trauma can linger both mentally and physically. Here at Brevard Regional Hyperbaric Center, we help individuals with a history of radiation therapy return to their pre-cancer physically active state.

What does radiation therapy do to the body?

Tiny blood vessels throughout our tissue play a huge roll in general health and healing. During life-saving radiation therapy treatment, the tissues surrounding the cancer are damaged, as well. This limits the blood vessels’ ability to transport healthy cells to the injured areas and can lead to complications for many cancer survivors.

  • Those treated for breast cancer may experience:
    • Painful breast syndrome: chronic pain of the breast and chest wall associated with radiation
    • Non-healing surgical complications
    • Radiation damage to the soft tissue and skin
  • Those treated for prostate, colon, bladder, uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer may experience:
    • Incontinence
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Painful urination
    • Painful bowel movements
    • Chronic pain association with pelvic radiation

How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) help survivors?

Cancer survivors sit comfortably inside the hyperbaric chamber at a simulated depth of 45 feet below sea level. Patients breathe highly concentrated levels of pure oxygen, which causes the cells to enter a state of hyperactive healing. The cells then rebuild the damaged tissues and tiny blood vessels in the area affected by radiation with a healthy blood supply. Once the healthy new blood supply is developed, the hyperactive cells can start relieving chronic pain, radiation wounds, incontinence, and so much more.

Who pays for treatment?

HBO therapy is covered by all major insurance companies as long as the radiation occurred at least six months prior. This is because studies have shown that the full effect of radiation damage takes at least six months to settle in. There are no restrictions on how long ago the radiation was received. For example, if a woman had breast cancer 35 years ago and received radiation therapy, she would still benefit from HBO therapy today.

What is the most important part of receiving HBO therapy?

The important thing to remember is there are a significant number of survivors in our community who are suffering unnecessarily. Treatment options are available to avoid a lifetime of discomfort and possible use of narcotics. Our goal is to restore survivors’ quality of life so they can transform surviving into thriving.

For more information about Brevard Regional Hyperbaric Center, call (321) 676-3200 or visit

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