Mercy Health Wound Care Centers Can Help Heal Radiation Damage from Cancer Treatment without Surgery

Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that its wound care centers can help cancer patients recover from the side effects of radiation therapy through non-invasive treatment.

Increasing numbers of diabetics are taking advantage of the healing properties of hyperbaric treatment to heal stubborn wounds that develop as a result of the poor circulation that's a complication of diabetes. However, many cancer patients are unaware that the same treatment, which drives pure oxygen to damaged tissue to help grow new blood vessels and arteries in the tissue, can help heal damage caused by radiation therapy.

"Radiation therapy is safe and effective but it does cause some damage to healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous tissue it's working to cure. The damage can take between one and 20 years to become evident and it can greatly impact a person’s life," said Mercy Health Physician and general surgeon James Fitzpatrick, MD, Medical Director of the Wound Care Center at Mercy Health - Fairfield Hospital. "Thanks to hyperbaric treatment, these patients don’t have to suffer in silence. We can help them heal."

Patients having radiation therapy to treat cancers of the head, neck or jaw may develop oral wounds that won't heal with or without surgery. Breast cancer treatment infrequently leads to open wounds of the skin. Radiation treatment to other areas of the body can cause scarring of the colon, small bowel or bladder that leads to pain, cramping, diarrhea, incontinence and blood in the urine or stool.

"The damage to healthy tissue caused by radiation treatment leads to scarring, or fibrosis, that destroys the blood vessels in the tissue. Since blood vessels carry oxygen to tissue and oxygen helps heal wounds, radiation damage leaves patients with a wound that won't heal properly and that, in turn, can cause other health issues," says Fitzpatrick.

"During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we expose patients to pure oxygen at a pressure that is greater than what we experience typically for two hours at a time. This drives oxygen to tissues throughout the body. Patients can watch movies, read or nap while the treatment works to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the affected areas. Patients will likely notice improvement after 12-15 treatments, though they may need 40 or more treatments for their symptoms to resolve," he adds.

"We can also provide the treatment preventively for patients who’ve had head, neck and jaw radiation who are facing oral or plastic surgery. Hyperbaric treatment ahead of time and immediately after surgery can help them adequately heal."

All of Mercy Health's wound care centers can treat patients with radiation damage. Patients can consult with their primary care physician or specialist first or contact the most convenient Mercy Health Wound Care Center directly at the numbers below:
  • Mercy Health - Clermont Hospital 513-735-8924
  • Mercy Health - Fairfield Hospital 513-774-2880
  • Mercy Health - West Hospital 513-215-5030
  • The Jewish Hospital - Mercy Health 513-686-5757