What is Hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia is a non-invasive gentle treatment that raises tumor temperature to approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature similar to high fever. Hyperthermia kills many cancer cells resulting from heat stress which restricts amount of oxygen and nutrients available to them. Heat also helps to expose the tumor antigens (a substance that induces an immune response) allowing for an effective immune response to be mounted by the body’s immune system.
Radiation treatments become decidedly more effective (in some cases improving the results by 44%) when combined with hyperthermia. Radiation requires oxygen to effectively destroy tumors. Hyperthermia causes the dilation of the tumor blood vessels which increases the availability of oxygen. Radiation interacts with oxygen to create chemicals that cause the death of cancer cells. Hyperthermia also disables the tumor cells ability to repair any damage caused by radiation so these cells can perish.
Does Hyperthermia work with Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy treatments markedly benefit from dilation of tumor blood vessels so chemotherapeutic drugs can get to the center of a tumor. Additionally, hyperthermia makes the cell membrane of the tumor cells more porous so even more chemo therapeutic drugs can enter the tumors cells to destroy them.
Who is a good candidate for Hyperthermia?
The only way to confirm your potential candidacy for treatment is to schedule an appointment for an in depth consultation. Your physician will review treatment recommendations and an appropriate action of care based on your specific needs.
How long does treatment take?
Treatment generally takes about 1 hour. We encourage patients to plan on being in the office for anywhere from 1-3 hours to benefit from individualized supportive care treatments.
What if I’m flying in from out of town?
We see patients from all over the world. If you are flying in for treatment, speak to your New Patient Coordinator to better assist you in scheduling and coordinating your appointments. Our friendly staff is here to alleviate all the added stress so that you can focus on getting better.
Who performs the treatment?
During your first visit at the Center for Thermal Oncology you will consult with Dr. Oscar. Dr. Streeter is an expert in hyperthermia and will work with your physicans to facilitate the best outcome. Dr. Streeter works in conjunction with our hyperthermia technicians and supervises every treatment session to ensure proper and effective delivery.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Scheduling an appointment is easy! Call our office toll free at 888-580-5900 and ask to speak to one of our New Patient Coordinators, or you can email us directly through our website.
Are there any side effects?
Hyperthermia does not carry the kinds of unpleasant side effects usually experienced with radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Hyperthermia has nothing but benefits for the human body. However, because hyperthermia is a heat therapy, there are occasional risks of blisters or minor burns due to uneven heating. These occur in only a small number of patients, are typically quick to heal, and usually do not prevent completion of the therapy. Almost all patients say they experience no side effects during hyperthermia treatment.
What if I don’t want radiation or chemotherapy, can I just receive hyperthermia?
For efficacy purposes hyperthermia must be performed in conjunction with radiation and/or chemotherapy. Because heat helps to sensitize cancer cells to radiation or chemotherapy, your radiation or chemotherapy treatments are more effective than if given without hyperthermia. The two therapies work together to fight the growing cancer cells. Heat also prevents the cancer cells from repairing the damaging effects of radiation.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments varies from patient to patient. Your physician will discuss a recommended number of treatment sessions with you at the time of your consultation.
How should I prepare for my treatment?
Most hyperthermia patients are also receiving radiation therapy treatments. It is important to follow your radiation therapist’s recommendations for skin care. If you have not already received information on skin care from your radiation therapist, ask for it.
In general, you should treat your skin very gently. Avoid harsh or deodorant soaps, and pat, rather than rub, areas dry. Do not use creams or ointments unless prescribed by your physician. Avoid causing irritation to the treatment site, such as sunburn or friction. Your therapist will show you the correct way to take care of your skin when you begin treatment. If you notice any signs of infection (fever, chills, redness, tenderness, swelling, blisters, draining or oozing), notify your physician or therapist at once.
It is always important that you take good care of yourself during the treatment period. Get plenty of rest and eat well-balanced meals. Exercise is helpful if done in moderation.