HBOT Conversations:
Elena Schertz & Tom Fox (Part 4) – Cancer & Cerebral Palsy


Elena Schertz, NP and Tom Fox of Extivita-RTP in Raleigh, NC join us in a 5-part series to discuss the extraordinary healing they’ve witnessed through the God-given natural therapy of HBOT. This is Part 2, with a focus on how Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is helping people of all ages heal from concussions.

Elena Schetz, NP is the nurse practitioner, and Tom Fox is the Safety Director at Extivita-RTP. Extivita-RTP offers a positive environment for healing, and they encourage anyone seeking a better quality of life to come visit them and experience for themselves the wonder of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

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In a Special 5-part series with Extivita’s Nurse Practitioner, Elena Schertz, and Safety Director, Tom Fox, we dive into the extraordinary powers of HBOT, and the healing they have witnessed for a variety of conditions. The following segments prelude this episode:

Part 1 – HBOT for PTSD (veteran focus)
Part 2 – Concussions & HBOT
Part 3 – Heart Disease & HBOT

In Part 4 of 5, we discuss two topics — cancer & cerebral palsy.

Let’s start with cancer. Elena Schertz says cancer patients have come through the doors at Extivita many times, looking for a “Hail Mary”.  They’ve done the chemo and radiation and they are now at the end of their rope, and don’t know what else to do.  Elena believes that when it comes to cancer you should throw everything at it, monotherapy is not the answer.  In the end, does it really matter which therapy worked?!  As long as it works!! She will often discuss diet changes and recommend IV therapies like high dose vitamin C, Pulse Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF – BEMER) along with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.  Elena explains that she’s seen impressive results using pro-oxidative treatments to help the patient kill cancer.

“I’ve seen patients who have reported to me that they have had their the tumor size shrink during the course of maybe 20 sessions.”

Elena reminds viewers that radiation necrosis is one of the covered indications by the FDA, so treatment is typically reimbursed by insurance. Since radiation kills the bad cells, and the good, hyperbarics can help the patient recover from radiation therapy by restoring oxygen to the good cells that were damaged in radiation field.  HBOT can also be used in conjunction with chemotherapy to ease chemotherapy side effects (especially brain fog).

Tom explains that he has seen patients gain improvement in their biomarkers for cancer as a direct effect of receiving HBOT. And he has seen patients come in with brain cancer and glioblastoma, that were given nine months or three months to live.  One particular patient comes to mind who Tom treated with HBOT and is now living 2 years post diagnosis and was only given months to live; HBOT was one of many therapies the patient has been using.  It’s important to understand that its the incorporation of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy that makes the tumor happy.  Happy tumors are calm, while aggravated tumors grow. By giving the tumor oxygen under pressure,  it interrupts the metabolism of the tumor. He further explains that typically the inside of a tumor is hypoxic (oxygen starved) so by adding oxygen to the tumor, it will counteract the growth of the tumor.

Tom explains that it’s important to understand the role of oxygen in healing, and he recommends the Flexner Report to those who want to know more on medical education and emphasizing the science.

Tom says he would tell doctors & healers, “Hey, listen, practice your art. Practice the art of healing. Use every tool available to you and you’ll see outcome, especially when you use and look at the role of oxygen in healing.”

In turn, host, Edward di Girolamo, pointed out that the Research Rundowns by HBOT News are great for better understanding the research behind HBOT in particular, because we try and point out if there’s a conflict of interest to the researchers and to the viewers/readers.

“There’s a lot of good science out there and it’s just being ignored or when it’s summarized by somebody that may be paid off because of a conflict of interest, they conclude something that’s completely inaccurate, and that’s what we try to point out in our Research Rundowns.”

This leads into a brief discussion on Cerebral Palsy and universal healthcare, as Tom highlights some research that falls right in line with what Edward mentioned. Tom tells his personal story about his two step-sons who were born with Cerebral Palsy and how Hyperbarics helped them tremendously in gaining a better quality of life.

The CP twins started receiving treatment at age 4. One never went back to a wheelchair after 24 HBOT treatments, while the other (who was more severely affected by CP) gained truck control and was now feeding himself. Today, at 27 years old, they have both had well over 1,500 HBOT treatments.  One graduated from college and the other works in community awareness and teaches English as a second language.

Tom ponders whether cerebral palsy could be eliminated if a child is treated with HBOT extremely early in life, would it repair the oxygen deprived damage done to the brain at birth? He says there are many physicians who think it would, and would ease the impact of CP on medicine and society.


Elena Schertz, NP

Elena Schertz, NP - Clinic Manager at Extivita RTP

Elena attained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University and received her Masters of Science in Nursing from Simmons University in Boston, MA. She has been practicing integrative medicine since 2010 and is currently working on her certification in functional medicine from the Institute of Functional Medicine.

Elena worked as a nurse in the pediatric oncology, cardiac, and surgical units at UNC hospitals for 15 years before deciding to work in integrative medicine. After years of working as a nurse, she decided to pursue her graduate degree, completing her masters with honors. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Elena’s passion for integrative medicine comes from her knowledge that the mind, body and psych/social/spiritual systems are not separate. The focus of Elena’s practice is to approach each of her patient’s healing process from the perspective of the whole, supported and grounded in safety and evidence-based medicine. She also maintains close consultative relationships with experts in the field to promote and enhance wellness for her patients. Elena joined the wonderful Extivita team in March 2019 and is thrilled to be a part of advancing health and wellness through hyperbaric medicine.


Elena Schertz, NP

Thomas M. Fox, MAS,MS, CHT - Safety Director at Extivita RTP

Tom is the Research Physiologist for the Hyperbaric Institute for Research and Training, a division of Island Hyperbaric Centre in Pincourt QC. He has worked in the field of Clinical Hyperbaric Oxygen for the last 30 years. During this time, he has been intimately involved with the implementation and the development of the US Army’s Clinical Hyperbaric Service at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center. He has provided contract hyperbaric services since 1997. Prior to accepting his current position in Quebec, Canada, Mr. Fox served as the Chief of the Atmospherics Branch of the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine, Fort Rucker Alabama. In this capacity, he was responsible for hyperbaric/ hypobaric operations and training of US and NATO aviators, flight surgeons and flight medics. Mr. Fox is a senior army aviator and flew twelve years as a Medical Evacuation Pilot for the US Army.

Tom joined the Extivita team in 2022 as the Safety Director, helping Extivita to maintain a healthy and safe environment for exceptional patient care.


Extivita-RTP – Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Clinic

2012-D TW Alexander Drive
Durham, NC 27709

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