RE: Supplemental Oxygen
I understand your frustration, but the reason that there is little research into it is because we have around 130 years of experience with oxygen, and so have explored many if not all the possible ways to use it and abuse it. For sleep apnoea it is found that any therapeutic effect is not related to the oxygen itself (and this WAS looked into early on), but to the constant pressure, in short, a CPAP, and the result is that if we find a simple and effective way to treat something, then we prefer not to impose an expensive and potentially lethal way of doing it on the patient. That is why, except for certain cases, when a patient needs extra oxygen at home, these days it is done via a compressor with a continuous feedback system, similar to a CPAP, in fact, instead of cannisters (or bottles) with a pressure gauge, as we used to use years ago - the expense is less, it is safer for the patient, it reacts more quickly to a patient's respiration needs, and there are only a few reasons these days to insist on pure O2 for a patient (not to say we don't use it or recommend it for given conditions, but not a s a universal panacea). Added to which, O2 delivery systems tend to be single stream single pressure rigs, while CPAP devices respond quite dynamically to the breathing behaviour of the patient.
As for the cannula comfort, and I do not know if I am abusing the rules of the Forum's restriction on mentioning commercial companies here, but a company named DeVilbiss makes one in that style which has a reputation of being comfortable and not terribly prone to leakage. If you do obtain one (the Nasal-Aire II ....hmmmm.... I wonder what happened to the nasal-air I?) do let us know how that works for you. If you like it a lot, I might give it a go myself - I am constantly looking for a better system and prone to modding just about everything I get my hands on.
As for other "gold standards" - the prostate operation you refer to was the standard at a time that we didn't know better how to treat that disease, and is still in force for more advanced forms, these days using a robot (which my brother just underwent, btw, to amazing effect). We still test PSA levels in patients with a family history of cancer or have other risk factors, and for good reason - any clue is better than no clue, and the test itself is not expensive - in fact, it is around ten bucks or less most times. The reason it is given a grater scrutiny is because we now know that relying on it alone is simply not a safe diagnostic method. But it is still a member of the battery of tests that every man should have every few years past a certain age (and so is the doc sticking his finger up yer bum and telling you to cough).
Medicine is constantly evolving, and so we constantly move our standards, which is one reason why doctors have to continuously be re-educated. In fact, we cannot maintain our practice legally without it. Most of what I learned decades ago has been supplanted by better understanding and that is simply the nature of our profession - we continuously add to our knowledge and the greater the database, the more we can see what works best. The cancer that killed my mother thirty eight years ago is now, when treated at the stage that my mother's was first diagnosed, entirely treatable, and without the massive surgical disfiguration that she endured to buy her enough time to see her children half grown. The congestive heart failure that took my father two decades ago is now pretty much something that can be handled and his life extended. We learn - perhaps in the future we will have a simple laser treatment and boom! the apnoea is gone! But for now, CPAP remains the best method.
However, there IS an alternative that requires considerable daily discipline for very mild forms of apnoea, and is not successful on all forms by any means - digeridoo playing has been found successful in treating apnoeas that occur due to general throat laxity, by tightening up the muscles of the throat - no other instrument has been shown to be a successful substitute, and it is believed that the type of circular breathing has a toning effect on the tissue of the throat. It has further been shown that one must play the "doo" daily for the therapeutic effect to work, and that one must learn the proper technique from a trained teacher. Simply trying to play it on your own won't do - you have to do it properly or not at all. We actually have digiridoo training sessions sponsored by the LungenLega here in Switzerland.
As I said, not all patients are candidates for this therapy, and it only works in mild forms, although it has been shown to lessen the needed pressure on more extreme cases. Something to think about as either an alternative or a supplement. However, this is not something you should journey on by yourself. You need competent medical guidance in all these areas. As much as you don't trust the profit motive of the US medical community, the individual physician is still concerned that you get better, and he or she will look out for your best method of improvement.