CANCER TREATMENT USING HEAT
Hyperthermia is the use of thermal heat to treat cancers. The use of heat in treating malignant tumors has a long history dating back over 150 years. In the past 25 years there has been a rekindled interest in the clinical application of heat, as the benefits of combining hyperthermia with radiation therapy have became known.
Hyperthermia treatment requires raising the temperature of tumor tissues by about 10º F, and is used primarily in cancers that are at or very near the skin surface, as they need to be accessible to the heating devices. Heat is delivered either by surface contact or by insertion of small heating needles directly into the tumor. Hyperthermia is most often used for tumors that have recurred in a previously radiated part of the body; most commonly in cancers of the breast / chest wall and head + neck cancers.
Treatments take about 15 – 30 minutes and are given on an outpatient basis 2 – 3 times per week for 3 – 6 weeks. External beam radiation is also used during this time. Both treatments are given in our radiation oncology department. We are one of the few centers in South Florida that offers this specialized form of cancer treatment.