Hyperthermia is a specialized therapy that involves heating selected tumors to 106 to 108 degrees for up to one hour. Hyperthermia can be delivered in combination with radiotherapy. Cancers most commonly treated with hyperthermia are head and neck, prostate, cervical, skin, soft tissue sarcoma, and chest wall recurrences of breast cancer.
Certain cancer cells can become resistant to cancer treatment when they become oxygen-starved due to poor blood supply. Heat application causes increased blood flow and oxygen to the tumor making the cancer cells more susceptible to cell death. Hyperthermia is always preceded or followed by radiation or chemotherapy because it enhances the effectiveness of these treatments.
External approaches are used to treat tumors that are in or just below the skin. Superficial applications are positioned around or near the appropriate region, and energy is focused on the tumor to raise its temperature.
Deep tissue hyperthermia is used to treat patients suffering from locally advanced, persistent, or recurrent deep tumors of the pelvis. Deep tissue hyperthermia is delivered using an FDA approved protocol of radiotherapy in combination with treatments in the BSD-2000 hyperthermia system.
Hyperthermia can be delivered externally or internally. An external device, similar to a heating pad, is used for tumors close to the skin’s surface. For all others, small wires are inserted into surgically implanted hollow tubes and energized with microwaves to heat the tumor. The implanted tubes are removed when all treatments are complete.