Recent years have seen a boost in a new form of therapy called hyperthermia cancer treatment. This method of treating cancer cells uses heat. It can be used with cancer therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation.
The cancer cells’ temperature is raised during the hyperthermia cancer treatment process. These cells are more susceptible to other treatments when the temperature is elevated. Because of this, chemotherapy or radiation treatment can more easily kill them.
Hyperthermia can be applied internally or externally as a cancer treatment depending on where the disease is in the body. In contrast to external hyperthermia, which involves heating the skin above the tumor, internal hyperthermia involves inserting probes inside the body to deliver heat directly to the tumor site.
According to studies, breast, cervical, and prostate cancers can all be effectively treated with hyperthermia. It has also been used effectively to treat tumors that did not respond to other forms of therapy.
One benefit of hyperthermia cancer treatment is that it is a secure and non-invasive option for cancer patients. Unlike surgery or radiation therapy, no incisions or scars are associated with this treatment.
Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment
The Hyperthermia Cancer Institute provides a range of therapies, such as deep tissue and regional hyperthermia treatments. While deep tissue hyperthermia targets deeper tissues where the tumor has spread, regional hyperthermia targets areas where tumors are located.
When hyperthermia sets in, the body’s temperature or the temperature of the affected area rises. This increase in body temperature may make cancer cells more susceptible to other cancer therapies. Making these cells more receptive to other treatments can improve the prognosis for cancer patients.
Studies have demonstrated that hyperthermia treats various diseases, including cervical, prostate, and breast cancer. In fact, a National Cancer Institute study indicated that combining radiation therapy with hyperthermia therapy increased the survival rates for women with advanced cervical cancer.
Another hyperthermia therapy that boosts body temperature is called body hyperthermia. Patients with cancer that has spread throughout their body or who cannot undergo surgery or radiation frequently receive this treatment.
A case study from the Hyperthermic Oncology Department at the Medical Center at Maastricht University in the Netherlands demonstrates hyperthermia’s effectiveness. Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer, was present in the patient and had spread to his liver and lungs. He had chemotherapy and targeted heat after multiple unsuccessful treatment cycles. After three months, his tumors were significantly decreased, and by six months, they were gone entirely.
Hyperthermia therapy can, however, come with hazards. Adverse side effects like fatigue, pain, and skin burns could occur. However, these side effects are usually slight and disappear after a few days.
Different Types of Cancer Hyperthermia Therapy
One cancer treatment option is hyperthermia therapy, which uses heat to kill cancer cells. It raises the temperature of the tumor to a level where cancer cells are destroyed while protecting healthy tissues. Each type of hyperthermia therapy has advantages and disadvantages of its own.
Thermal therapy is a hyperthermia therapy that uses heat to kill cancer cells. There are several approaches to accomplish this, including:
Localized heating: This procedure inserts probes or catheters into the body to provide heat directly to the tumor.
Regional heating: Wider tissue regions around the tumor are heated using external applicators.
Whole-body heating can help boost the immune system and make cancer cells more sensitive to other treatments by increasing the body’s core temperature. The advantage of thermal therapy is that it may precisely target the tumor site while harming healthy tissues the least. However, it might not be suitable for all tumor types or locales.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which uses high-frequency energy to heat and kill cancer cells, is another type of hyperthermia therapy. During RFA, a little, needle-like probe is inserted into the tumor. The probe then emits radio waves, which heat up the surrounding area and destroy cancer cells.
Numerous types of cancer, including liver, lung, kidney, and bone tumors, have been successfully treated with RFA. Due to its modestly invasive nature and lack of general anesthesia, it has several advantages over other treatments like surgery or radiation therapy.
Another form of hyperthermia therapy is microwave thermotherapy (MTT), which employs microwave energy to heat and kill cancer cells. MTT can be given via external or internal applicators, depending on the tumor’s location.
MTT has the benefit of being able to permeate tissues more deeply than other types of hyperthermia therapy. It can therefore be used to treat malignancies deeply rooted in the body. MTT might not be appropriate for all tumors.
Magnetic Nanoparticle Hyperthermia
A more recent form of hyperthermia therapy called magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia (MNPH) uses a magnetic field to heat and kill cancer cells after injecting the patient with magnetic nanoparticles.
Tumor tissues are more heat-sensitive than healthy tissues. MNPH is less intrusive and more highly focused than other types of hyperthermia therapy, giving it several advantages.
In several instances, it has been proven that combination therapy is more successful than treatment with only one modality. For example, combining heat with chemotherapy can improve the tumor cells’ ability to absorb the medicine while boosting blood flow to the tumor. This enables increased medication concentrations at the tumor location, improving therapeutic results.
Similarly, combining hyperthermia with radiation therapy can make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation and vulnerable to damage. This enables lower radiation dosages, lowers side effects, and enhances patient quality of life.
How Hyperthermia Works in Cancer Treatment
The malignant cells are heated during this treatment so that they can be killed. There are several ways to give heat to the affected area, including radiofrequency, microwaves, and ultrasound.
Radiation and chemotherapy are more effective against cancer cells when heated because they are more vulnerable. To kill cancer cells, hyperthermia damages the proteins and structural components within the cells. Thermal ablation is the term for this action.
The immune system may be triggered to attack cancer cells by hyperthermia. Heat shock proteins are released by tumor cells when they are heated (HSPs). These HSPs serve as cues for the immune system to identify and target the tumor cells for destruction.
In addition, the tumor blood supply can be decreased by heat, which can inhibit growth. Blood is necessary for the growth and spread of tumors throughout the body. We can stop their growth and development by decreasing this blood supply using heat therapy.
Studies have demonstrated that adding hyperthermia to other therapies improves results for some malignancies, including melanoma and breast cancer. It is crucial to remember that not all patients may benefit from hyperthermia. Due to potential interference with pacemakers and other electronic implants, patients who have them may not be able to get this kind of therapy.
Also, hyperthermia may cause uncomfortable side effects like skin burns during treatment. Even though these side effects are frequently minor, they should be considered before starting this therapy.
Recurrent breast cancer is one condition where heat treatment has been effective. According to a European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology study, radiation therapy outcomes for patients with recurrent breast cancer were better when hyperthermia was included. According to the study, 67 percent of patients who had both treatments had a full recovery, as opposed to only 38 percent of those who only received radiation.
Another illustration is melanoma treatment. According to research in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, patients with advanced melanoma had higher odds of progression-free survival while receiving heat in addition to chemotherapy.
Hyperthermia vs. Other Cancer Treatments
Hyperthermia therapy is a complementary therapy that can be used with other cancer treatments. Hyperthermia therapy’s adverse effects are less than other cancer treatments. This makes it appealing for patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment who do not wish to face extra side effects.
Cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can harm the body’s healthy cells, whereas hyperthermia therapy solely affects malignant cells. Therefore, the body’s healthy tissues and organs are less likely to sustain long-term damage.
Hyperthermia therapy can boost the effectiveness of other cancer treatments by making cancer cells more susceptible to them. For instance, it has been shown that hyperthermia improves the absorption of chemotherapy drugs into tumor cells when paired with chemotherapy.
Many tumors have been effectively treated using hyperthermia, even if some cancers may not respond well to other treatments. In fact, the FDA has approved the use of hyperthermia therapy in treating several soft tissue sarcoma subtypes.
Hyperthermia is also a stand-alone therapy for some early-stage malignancies. For instance, evidence suggests that heat alone can treat early-stage breast cancer.
The non-invasive alternative of hyperthermia treatment can be used in addition to other therapies. Other treatments, however, would necessitate a mix of therapies. Due to its adaptability, it is appealing to patients looking for complementary or alternative therapies.
Hyperthermia therapy is more flexible, effective, and generally safe than cancer treatments. Every medical operation has some risk, but the odds of hyperthermia usually are relatively low.
While there are many possibilities, hyperthermia is a quick and safe solution that can be used independently or in sequence with other therapies. If you’re considering integrating hyperthermia therapy into your cancer treatment plan, speak with your doctor to ensure it’s appropriate.
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A study in the International Journal of Hyperthermia concluded that combining chemotherapy and hyperthermia was more effective than chemotherapy alone in treating advanced ovarian cancer. The study found that patients who received both treatments responded more favorably and went longer without developing symptoms.
According to a different study, treating locally advanced cervical cancer with radiation therapy alone was less successful than treating the condition with radiation therapy and hyperthermia. Additionally, the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported on this study. According to the study, individuals with both treatments had excellent overall survival rates and lower recurrence rates than those who received radiation therapy.
Today, many cancer treatment facilities nationwide include hyperthermia therapy in their extensive cancer care plans. For instance, several of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s facilities, including its hospital in Philadelphia, provide hyperthermia cancer treatment.
Benefits and Risks of Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment for Patients
While some patients may benefit from hyperthermia as a treatment, some risks are also involved.
Benefits of Hyperthermia
- Studies have indicated that hyperthermia can increase the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy. Using hyperthermia in conjunction with these therapies can help shrink tumors and improve overall survival rates.
- Hyperthermia can be a stand-alone treatment for some cancers and a supplemental therapy. For instance, it has been demonstrated that hyperthermia is effective in treating melanoma and recurring breast cancer.
- The fact that most patients tolerate heat well is another advantage. Skin burns, blisters, and soreness are possible side effects of hyperthermia, but they’re typically minor and transient.
Risks of Hyperthermia
- While most patients can tolerate hyperthermia without incident, there are some potential risks. One potential risk is damage to the healthy tissue bordering the tumor under treatment. This danger can be reduced by adequately targeting the tumor using cutting-edge imaging methods.
- Infection at the location where the heat therapy was applied is another potential concern connected to hyperthermia. Healthcare professionals ensure the treated area is clean and sterile before applying heat therapy to reduce this danger.
- Additionally, some patients may be more likely than others to suffer from severe hyperthermia-related side effects. Dizziness, weariness, weakness, nausea, and vomiting are some potential adverse effects.
- It’s crucial for cancer patients contemplating hyperthermia as a therapy option to go over the potential advantages and disadvantages with their doctor. Patients can decide whether hyperthermia is the best course of treatment for them by consulting carefully with their medical team.
Local Hyperthermia and Deep Tissue Hyperthermia
Local and deep tissue hyperthermia are the two types of heat therapy utilized in hyperthermia cancer treatment. A variety of heat therapy called local hyperthermia targets a particular body part, like a tumor.
It involves employing several techniques, such as microwaves or ultrasound, to heat the affected area. Local hyperthermia aims to increase the tumor’s temperature to between 104°F and 113°F, which can kill cancer cells.
On the other hand, deeper within the tissues and more extensive parts of the body are the focus of deep tissue hyperthermia. This kind of heat therapy is frequently used with other cancer therapies. There are several ways to provide deep tissue hyperthermia, such as radiofrequency waves or magnetic fields.
Heat Treatment for Cancer Cells
Heat can produce an environment in which cancer cells cannot live, which makes it potentially helpful in killing them. The capacity to withstand higher temperatures is one trait that distinguishes cancer cells from healthy cells. High temperatures stress cancer cells, which may cause them to deteriorate more quickly than healthy cells.
Measuring Temperature During Hyperthermia Treatment
Hyperthermia therapy aims to heat cancer cells over their average body temperature of about 37°C (98.6°F). To ensure that the tumor is heated to the proper temperature during hyperthermia treatment, thermometers are used to assess the temperature of the cancer and the tissue around it.
The purpose of hyperthermia therapy is to kill cancer cells by raising their temperature to a range between 104°F and 113°F, or between 40°C and 45°C. However, avoiding overheating healthy tissue is crucial because doing so can harm them and result in problems.
Types of Cancer Treated with Hyperthermia
Breast, prostate, and cervical cancer are just a few of the cancers that can be treated using hyperthermia. Sarcomas and melanomas are two more tumor forms that might benefit from this treatment.
Integrating Hyperthermia into Cancer Treatment Plans
By including hyperthermia in cancer treatment plans, medical providers can give patients a more comprehensive strategy for fighting cancer and possibly raise their chances of recovery.
More medical facilities nationwide now provide hyperthermia as an extra treatment option for cancer patients. This is because hyperthermia can harm or kill cancer cells, which can help battle the disease. The benefits of hyperthermia as a cancer treatment are currently being looked into by the National Cancer Institute.
It has been shown that hyperthermia enhances the uptake of chemotherapy medicines by tumor cells, enhancing the outcomes for chemotherapy patients. One advantage of hyperthermia is that it can be used on bodily portions that have cancer.
This means that the high-energy waves used in hyperthermia therapy are unaffected by the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Healthcare practitioners must plan carefully and work together when introducing hyperthermia into cancer therapy regimens. Imaging studies may be required of patients before hyperthermia therapy so that doctors may accurately target the tumor spots during treatment.
Despite its potential advantages, not all cancer treatment facilities use hyperthermia as a conventional treatment option. However, this trend is shifting as more studies demonstrate its effectiveness and patients seek complementary treatment options. Cancer patients can make educated decisions about their care and possibly improve their outcomes by collaborating with their healthcare providers to investigate all available treatment options.
Hyperthermia and Chemotherapy: A Powerful Combination
One of the most often employed treatments is chemotherapy. Targeting cells that divide quickly, such as cancer cells, prevents them from increasing and dividing further. However, chemotherapy can cause unpleasant side effects such as hair loss, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and a compromised immune system.
To destroy cancer cells, heated chemotherapy, sometimes called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), combines chemotherapy medications with high temperatures. Cancers like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma that have spread to the abdominal cavity respond particularly well to this treatment.
Another HIPEC technique called continuous hyperthermic peritoneal perfusion (CHPP) involves water flowing into the abdomen while sedating the patient. This enables medical professionals to keep tumors at a constant temperature and provide them energy.
To ensure that HIPEC is safe and effective, the medical staff regularly monitors the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and blood clotting. Additionally, they modify the temperature based on how each patient reacts to it.
HIPEC has also been investigated as a possible treatment for cancers other than brain tumors. More research is necessary to thoroughly grasp its efficacy in treating certain tumors.
Hyperthermia and Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a widely utilized and well-known method of cancer treatment. It is not always successful on its own. Here, hyperthermia serves as a supplemental treatment choice.
Hyperthermia has been demonstrated to up to three times boost the efficiency of radiation therapy when paired with it. This is because cancer cells are more radiation-sensitive at high temperatures. Healthcare professionals can efficiently target and eliminate cancer cells while limiting damage to neighboring healthy tissue by heating the treated region before providing radiation therapy.
Before choosing their course of therapy, people considering hyperthermia should speak with their doctor about all possible benefits and hazards. Only trained personnel at a complete cancer center should provide hyperthermia.
There are two ways to apply hyperthermia: locally or systemically. Local hyperthermia targets particular bodily parts using external applicators to administer heat deep into tissues without damaging adjacent organs. Systemic hyperthermia raises the body’s average temperature throughout by using methods like submersion in water or infrared blankets.
Hyperthermia has proven to be a successful supplemental therapeutic option for some cancer types when paired with other therapies like radiation therapy. Patients must talk about their options with their doctor and decide on their therapeutic plan.