How Ozone Therapy May Improve Cancer Treatments
Ozone therapy has been included in alternative and integrative cancer support programs outside of the US for many decades. Only recently has ozone therapy gained some attention in the US for its anti-cancer effects. Ozone therapy refers to the use of O3, which is a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms that are unstably combined together. This is somewhat similar to the O2 that most people are familiar with, which is two oxygen molecules bound together in a more stable fashion.
The power of ozone therapy stems from this third oxygen molecule. In living systems when ozone is exposed to the blood this causes a chemical reaction to occur with amino acids and lipids. This reaction forms intermediate molecules known as peroxides, and it is these molecules that give ozone health promoting effects.
One interesting effect that ozone therapy has is the ability to increase tissue oxygenation.
Tumor oxygenation is very important as tumors with low levels of oxygen are harder to treat with conventional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. It has been reported that tumors with low levels of oxygen saturation (called hypoxia) can increase radiation resistance by 2.5-3 times (1). Having low oxygenation levels can promote tumor aggressiveness by stimulating a process called angiogenesis.
A low oxygen environment within a tumor has even been called an independent prognostic factor for advanced cancer progression. Meaning that the lower the oxygenation, the more likely the cancer will progress.
Many scientific studies have shown that the degree of hypoxia within a tumor can be predictive regarding response to treatment, or even about the tumor’s aggressiveness. For example, in one study of breast and colon cancer cells, the greater the level of hypoxia the greater the chance of resistance to the chemotherapy drug 5-FU (2). Additionally, in head and neck cancers it has been proposed that the degree of hypoxia can correlate with the tumor response the treatment and even overall survival (3).
A more recent study investigated the role of ozone therapy to treat fatigue in cancer patients. This study recruited people with cancer and who were experiencing cancer-related fatigue. Fatigue is extremely common in people fighting cancer. This fatigue can be brought about as a result of the treatments, the disease process itself, or even from the mental-emotional state of the patient. The participants in this study were either being actively treated for cancer or had finished their cancer treatment. Ozone was administered twice weekly for a month and then twice monthly for maintenance. Seventy (70%) percent of patients reported a significant improvement in their fatigue, with a greater than 50% reduction in symptoms. None of the patients reported side effects (4).
Ozone administration is typically done through a process called major autohemotherapy or auto-hemotransfusion. This is a safe procedure in which a small volume of a patient’s blood is extracted into a sterile container, exposed to ozone, and then infused back into the patient. The ozone gas reacts with the blood in the container, forming the peroxides described above, and then these peroxides create the effect in the body. This process is typically takes less than an hour to complete and is virtually free from adverse effects.
Ozone therapy can also be delivered via other routes, such as rectal insufflation. In this process a small catheter is inserted into the rectum and then the ozone gas is infused through the catheter. The patient is then asked to hold the gas in as long as possible to facilitate good exposure. This process also takes less than hour with very little potential for adverse effects.
Ozone therapy is very safe and effective treatment. Ozone therapy has shown promise as an important part of an integrated cancer treatment plan. Ozone therapy is nearly free from adverse effects and has the potential to help improve health in a variety of illnesses. For more information on ozone therapy, visit our Ozone Therapy page or call our office today to set up a consultation.
Article contributed by Dr. Jonathan Psenka