Wound Care Treatments for Prostate Cancer Survivors

senior man resting after jog

Approximately one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime and the American Cancer Society estimates that it is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, followed by lung cancer. Years after successfully defeating prostate cancer, some men will experience a hidden complication caused by the radiation having affected healthy tissue as well as combating the cancer.  Radiation proctitis is a condition that occurs when the rectum or lower colon become inflamed and damaged as a result of pelvic radiation treatment.

Late Effects of Radiation

Soft tissue radiation injuries may occur up to 20 years after radiation treatment known as late radiation tissue injury (LRTI). Because of a lack of consistent long-term follow-up with patients, the true incidence of radiation proctitis is unknown although the reported incidence ranges from two to 39 percent of patients who received external beam radiation treatments.

Symptoms of chronic radiation proctitis may include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal pain and an uncomfortable feeling of needing to pass stools even though the bowels are empty.

Treatment Options to Help You Heal

Healogics offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat wounds caused by late effects of radiation.  Studies have found that the use of HBOT to treat radiation proctitis is likely to be beneficial in most cases and can improve your quality of life.

Patients at the Wound Care Center® relax on a bed encased in a large see-through shell called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.  During the completely noninvasive therapy they are surrounded by 100 percent oxygen at higher-than-normal pressure.

HBOT addresses the lack of oxygen in the cells caused by radiation damage by increasing the amount of oxygen within the tissues to aid recovery.  The pressure in the chamber reduces the size of the oxygen molecules allowing them to pass through the plasma to the body more easily.  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 each treatment which typically lasts between 90 and 120 minutes. You can also take a nap or read. When you are in the clear chamber, you are able to see out in all directions. If you are anxious, the doctor can prescribe medicine to help you relax.

Healogics Wound Care Centers® offer world-class wound care, including specialized treatment plans that can put you on the path to faster healing. For more information about HBOT, click here.