“One session of medium hyperbaric oxygen therapy would cost less than R600 while 20 sessions can cost less than R9000.”
While the country is still in search for an affordable cancer treatment, oxygen therapy is seemingly at the top as one of the viable alternatives. According to a medium hyperbaric practitioner, Joseph Winer oxygen therapy happens to be one of the cost-efficient methods for cancer treatments, especially considering that it has no known side effects.
Cancer is a very difficult to understand disease with many misconceptions associated with it. Winer defines cancer to be a metabolic dysfunction tied genetic mutations and the first step in fighting it is on the metabolic level.
“Oxygen is one of the fundamental elements required for life to materialise. But oxygen can also alleviate the pain associated with cancer and its treatments,” explains Winer.
Winer says through medium hyperbaric oxygen therapy, oxygen not only accelerates the healing of wounds and pain alleviation; it can also inhibit the development of cancerous cells or tumours.
He says medium hyperbaric treatment can also be a supplement to conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, especially when considering how the greatest financial and human impact of cancer is felt within low- and middle-income countries like South Africa, where only 5% of global resources for cancer prevention and control are spent.
According to the Southern African Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Association, there are 15 classified medical conditions for which hard chamber Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT) assists in treating and is officially approved for. These include arterial gas embolism, decompression sickness, enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds and necrotising soft tissue infections.
Winer says unless the world’s governments and private companies’ band together to find a cure, cancer will continue with its rampancy.
In 2017, a Discovery report stated that 7597 of its medical aid members were newly diagnosed with cancer, which equates to an incidence of 277 new cases per 100000 lives. The incidence is up from 251 in 2011, an increase of 10%.
“More and more cancer patients are receiving hyperbaric therapy and reporting a huge sense of relief. As more studies are being conducted, more medical practitioners and patients are seeing the benefits of oxygen, especially in the alleviation of cancer-associated pain,” concludes Winer