Considered the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, breast cancer accounts for 30% of new female cancers every year. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of getting it through a lifetime is about 13%, and it mainly occurs in middle-aged and older women.
Some of the commonly used treatments for breast cancer are surgical removal, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Due to the conception of free radicals in the process of tumor development and the toxic side effects associated with these conventional treatments, new anticarcinogenic and antitumor medications like ozone therapy have been discovered. According to studies, using antioxidants like ozone in integrated breast cancer treatments seems to be promising.
What is ozone?
Discovered in the mid-1800, ozone is a gas known to naturally occur in the earth’s stratosphere. It is a supercharged molecule that consists of three atoms of oxygen (instead of two in a regular oxygen molecule). This extra oxygen atom makes ozone dynamically unstable and highly reactive. In terms of physical characteristics, ozone does not have any color and has an acrid smell.
The essential function of this molecule is to protect humans against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Its concentrations at less than 20 μg/m3 from the Earth’s surface are perfectly compatible with life, making it a potential therapeutic agent for diseases such as cancer.
How does ozone therapy help in treating breast cancer?
Due to the highly reactive nature of ozone, it has the power to unclog blood vessels and break down acidic pathogens like cancer cells in the body.
Research suggests that low levels of oxygen in cells (also called hypoxia) can drive uncontrollable tumor growth of many cancers, including breast cancer. In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize for his cancer studies that suggested that an oxygen-rich environment is toxic to cancer cells, leading to targeted apoptosis or cell death. Therefore, administering ozone can help in treating cancer by elevating the levels of oxygen in the body.
Aside from increasing the oxygen concentration in the cells, ozone stimulates mitochondrial functions. When mitochondria are functioning at their highest potential, the body also operates optimally and heals effectively.
Ozone therapy is also known to stimulate the immune system by regulating the cytokine levels in the body. Cytokines are proteins released by the cells to control inflammation. When inflammation is under control, the tendency to cause DNA damage that leads to cancer as a result of chronic inflammation is decreased. A strengthened immune system also means a positive general resistance of the body in reducing negative side effects of chemotherapy and other conventional cancer treatments.
Compared to other breast cancer treatments, ozone therapy has the potential to significantly suppress breast cancer cell growth without affecting healthy cells. In a 2018 review article, researchers found in both animal and in vitro studies that ozone therapy is beneficial as a complementary therapy for radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. The use of ozone can potentially enhance the effects of these treatments, especially on cells that have developed resistance to drugs used.
Studies on humans are still insufficient to validate ozone therapy as a breast cancer treatment, according to Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer. But despite this, this therapy still brings numerous benefits to breast cancer patients who consider it as an additional treatment to their current treatment. These benefits include:
- Improved oxygen levels in cells, tissues, and organs
- Relaxation and overall sense of wellbeing
- Enhanced body’s natural oxidant system to get cells protection against radical damages
- Minimized side effects of drugs used in chemotherapy
How is ozone therapy administered?
As a natural non-invasive cancer treatment, ozone therapy ad;inistration process does not require any incision or anesthetic. This treatment reduces recovery time and risks.
There are different methods of administering ozone therapy, depending on the type of cancer being treated and the patient’s choice of where the procedure will be done. This treatment may involve one or more of the following approaches:
- Gas bathing
In this method, the patient is placed in a chamber filled with safe amounts of ozone gas. Under close supervision, the patient then inhales the gas for a short period of time before exiting the chamber for analysis.
- Auto Hemotransfusion
This method requires extraction of the patient’s blood and exposing it to ultraviolet rays. The UV exposure causes the blood to undergo an oxidative reaction that elevates the ozone levels in the blood. The ozonated blood is then recirculated back into the patient’s bloodstream.
This method involves introduction of ozone gas through various body cavities such as the nose, mouth, rectum, and vagina using special equipment. Since the walls of these body cavities are thin and porous, insufflation allows faster and more efficient ozone absorption into the bloodstream.
This method is particularly reserved for patients who are encountering difficulties or struggle with other conventional ozone therapy administration methods.
- Direct injection
In some cases, direct injection of ozone into the affected area is possible. This targeted approach is commonly used for reducing inflammation and treating chronic fatigue, such as pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, lyme disease, and gum disease.
Side effects of ozone therapy
Negative side effects of ozone therapy are possible if people perform it at their home instead of a professional facility. Doing the treatment at home poses the risk of accidentally inhaling the gas. This accidental inhalation invokes minor symptoms like burning eyes, nausea, coughing, mild headache, and lightheadedness. These symptoms come temporary and resolve shortly following the treatment.
During the healing process, one may also experience Herxheimer Reaction (a technical term for “detoxing”). People who experience this feel worse before feeling better. Flu-like symptoms may appear as part of the natural healing process. It is nothing to worry about and resolves on its own as the body goes through detoxification.