Element eight on the periodic table, oxygen has been a part of the Earth’s atmosphere for about 2.4 billion years. It is the third most abundant element in the entire universe. Regardless of your health, oxygen is necessary to your life. All of the cells in your body need oxygen to create energy and perform essential functions.
Your body is surprisingly adept at balancing the amount of oxygen that you need. This is how your body can adapt to higher altitudes or intense aerobic exercises. However, based on your health and certain illnesses, you and your cells may not be getting the right amount of oxygen, which can only exacerbate health problems.
This is where oxygen therapy can play an important role in better health and as a potential treatment for cancer. Oxygen therapy comes in different forms, depending on your needs. Learn more about the different types of oxygen therapy below.
Understanding Oxygen Therapy
What is oxygen therapy, you might ask? Well, it refers to a broad range of treatments that focus on introducing more oxygen into your body. As mentioned, certain medical conditions may contribute to a low oxygen level, including:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sleep apnea
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Low blood oxygen level or hypoxemia can cause shortness of breath which can even lead to acute respiratory failure. It can make you feel tired or confused. A lack of oxygen can also prevent your cells from getting enough nutrients and blood, which can eventually lead to damage to cells, tissues, and organs.
Oxygen therapy works to counteract these low blood oxygen levels through a variety of means.
Oxygen Therapy for Cancer
Numerous studies have proven oxygen therapy benefits. One of which is the reduction of cancer tumors. Studies using human and mouse breast cancer models show that tumor cells may thrive in oxygen-starved environments. Low oxygen levels give tumor cells an advantage in invading and spreading to neighboring tissues and organs.
By flooding cancer cells with oxygen, oxygen therapy may help to prevent metastasis and even neutralize cancer cells. Oxygenation may also increase tumor cell sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Types of Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy comes in various forms. The type of oxygen therapy for cancer you use depends on your ailment and your specific needs, as determined by your doctor.
The most common form of oxygen therapy, supplemental oxygen involves delivering concentrated oxygen into your lungs. This form of oxygen treatment is only available as a prescription from your doctor, and it may be administered at home or in a hospital or in other healthcare settings. It is a continuous oxygen therapy. While some people may only need it for a short amount of time, like during recovery following a surgery, others may need long-term oxygen therapy.
Oxygen administration for supplemental oxygen therapy can be through a few different types of oxygen system or oxygen delivery device. Some patients may use an oxygen mask or nasal cannula which delivers high oxygen flow rate, or an oxygen concentrator, which pulls oxygen from the air, while others may use gas or liquid oxygen stored in a oxygen tank or a reservoir bag. They are also available in portable oxygen cylinder versions, allowing you to use oxygen supplementation therapy wherever you go.
The oxygen is then connected via a mask, tent, or nose tube (cannula), allowing you to breathe in the pure oxygen along with normal air. The lungs absorb the extra oxygen, sending it to your red blood cells to transport to the rest of the body.
This form of oxygen therapy is generally safe and not known to cause any major side effects. Minor side effects can include a dry or bloody nose (particularly when using cannula), morning headaches, and general tiredness.
So, what is ozone therapy? It is a form of oxygen therapy designed specifically for reducing symptoms of cancer. Ozone is simply a compound comprising three oxygen atoms. Ozone therapy focuses on oxygenation by inserting ozone into your bloodstream. Ozone therapy itself comes in three different forms: ozone UVB, ozone autohemotherapy, and ozone rectal insufflation.
With ozone UVB therapy, a doctor removes a patient’s blood and exposes it to ultraviolet light. This creates an oxidative reaction that results in the formation of ozone within the blood. The blood is then reintroduced into the patient’s bloodstream, theoretically leading to increased oxygenation.
Ozone autohemotherapy is a similar procedure. A patient’s blood is removed, but instead of being exposed to ultraviolet rays, the blood is injected directly with ozone. The blood is then reinjected into the patient.
Ozone rectal insufflation involves injecting ozone into the body via the rectum. The rectal wall is surprisingly sensitive and thin, allowing for faster, more efficient absorption of the ozone.
Along with introducing more oxygen into the body to potentially reduce tumor cells, ozone therapy may act as an effective adjuvant during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In some experimental models, ozone therapy modulated free radicals and antioxidants. This also contributed to a decrease in chemotherapy-induced toxicity, suggesting that ozone therapy may play a role in managing or reducing some of the side effects of chemotherapy.
Hydrogen Peroxide IV
Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygenating compound that contains oxygen atoms. Studies on lung cancer suggest that infusing hydrogen peroxide may have an anti-proliferative effect. This may prevent the spread of tumor cells and potentially kill cancer cells.
However, it should be noted that hydrogen peroxide is dangerous to people when swallowed or injected. Over-the-counter forms of hydrogen peroxide usually come in concentrations of 3 percent, which is enough to cause chemical burns and stomach irritation when ingested. Hydrogen peroxide IV procedures involve much higher, food-grade concentrations of 35 percent. Injecting this amount could kill red blood cells or even contribute to kidney failure.
Furthermore, some studies show that cancer cells actually create hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide may serve as a “fertilizer” that supports cancer cell metabolism and metastasis while fueling general inflammation and aging.
Benefits of Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy has a wide range of benefits over other forms of treatment. Oxygen is a natural substance that we all need to exist. While pure concentrations of oxygen can be dangerous (those using oxygen tanks should be careful), oxygen that is breathed into the lungs is relatively safe. Ozone therapy is also considered mostly safe, and side effects are mostly nonexistent to minimal.
The biggest benefit to oxygen therapy is that it is minimally invasive. It does not require incisions or anesthetic, which also means you will not have to deal with recovery periods or downtime. You can return to your everyday activities almost immediately.
Is Oxygen Therapy Right for You?
Oxygen therapy is relatively safe, and it may be applied to a wide range of conditions. Some studies suggest oxygen therapy may provide relief for illnesses ranging from migraines to rheumatoid arthritis. However, you should consult your doctor to determine if oxygen therapy is right for you and the best type of oxygen therapy for your specific needs.
Written By: Dr. David Alvarez
Dr. David Alvarez is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Xochicalco and Certified by the American Heart Association (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support).
Dr. Alvarez has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista as an Assistant Medical Director at the Immunity Therapy Center for over 6 years. He provides daily on site patient care and participates on the medical board on research and development of patient treatment plans and programs. Dr. Alvarez is a knowledgeable and compassionate Doctor committed to helping patients get to where they want to be health wise through a more holistic and comprehensive approach.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.