News | June 16, 2008

UC San Diego Joins Radiation Therapy Study

June 17, 2008 - The University of California, San Diego Medical Center’s Hyperbaric Medicine Center is part of a nationwide effort to compile and evaluate data in order to validate whether cancer patients being treated for radiation-related wounds heal more quickly and more thoroughly with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Each year in the U.S., approximately 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer, half of whom receive radiation therapy. About five percent of those individuals develop problems or “late effect” wounds related to the radiation. Specialists say hyperbaric oxygen therapy is beneficial in managing radiation related injuries, and that a large-scale collection and analysis of data across treatment sites will help substantiate this working knowledge.

“As individual entities, it is difficult to know just how beneficial a therapy is until you can measure it across thousands of patients,” said Ian Grover, M.D., medical director, Hyperbaric Medicine Center at UC San Diego Medical Center. “So as healthcare professionals, it is very important to collaborate on our varying experiences through studies such as this registry.”

Radiation therapy can leave behind wounds on the skin, or cause blood in the urine or stool. The increased exposure to concentrated levels of oxygen through hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps re-generate blood vessels, thus delivering more oxygen to the wounded area and facilitating healing.

The information gathered at UC San Diego Medical Center will be merged with other leading centers across the U.S. The institutions have already shared findings from 2004 and 2005 and will be contributing data from 2006 and 2007 as well. The combined results will form a database that will be used to demonstrate the merits of this therapy to other physicians and health care insurers.

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