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Healing isn’t always a linear journey. Sometimes, it takes stages to bring the body back to full health, as John Murphy, a 55-year-old from Ridge, NY, recently discovered.

For the past two years, John has been undergoing treatments to cure his prostate cancer, which included a prostatectomy followed by radiation therapy. Though this was effective in treating the tumor, the radiation left him with anticipated yet undesirable side effects. He noticed bleeding, blood clot issues, pain when urinating and stress incontinence. John, who teaches special education at a local high school, found this to be an additional burden on an already overwhelming situation.

After consulting with his urologist, who explained this was radiation cystitis, John was immediately referred to the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing at St. Charles Hospital (Port Jefferson, NY). Radiation cystitis appears in approximately 60% of patients who have had radiation to the pelvic region for tumor treatment. Signs can appear as early as three months following treatment or sometimes will present even twenty years later. Depending on the severity, these side effects can significantly negatively impact the quality of a person’s life and can also become life-threatening if not treated quickly.

The Center recommended that he start hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy. HBO therapy is a proven method for treating radiation cystitis and other radiation injuries, as it increases oxygen flow to the diseased blood vessels, stimulating the growth of new capillaries to stabilize and heal the area. This is done by entering a pressurized glass chamber and breathing in pure, medical-grade oxygen.

John’s treatments lasted two hours a day, five days a week. To pass the time, he enjoyed streaming the latest movies on Netflix. “When you’re sitting in there, you’re forced to relax," he said. "You can’t look at your phone. I have ADHD, and I was able to sit through those treatments.”

Within 10 treatments, John noticed a significant improvement in some of his symptoms. After 30 treatments were completed, he returned to a much higher quality of life. “In my mind, it’s one less thing to think about," said John. "One less stress that I have. I’m still battling cancer, but it’s a big step in the right direction.”

“We are very happy with the progress Mr. Murphy made with hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” said Jason Foeppel, Program Director at the St. Charles Hospital Center. “Symptoms related to radiation can be worrisome and challenging, and we appreciate the trust he put in the staff at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing to help him improve.”

Though he’s happy to return to his normal life and complete his cancer treatments, John’s thankful to the team at St. Charles Hospital for the work they did to help restore his health. “Thank you for the professionalism and making it the best possible experience that you could have under those circumstances," he said. "I definitely feel better after going there, and there was a noticeable improvement.”


Catholic Health Centers for Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing

You can find expert care for all types of wounds at:

Learn more about wound care services offered at Catholic Health. Call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.

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