What is hyperthermia?
An FDA-approved non-invasive cancer treatment using ultrasound technology to raise the temperature within a tumor up to approximately 109°F (43°C). Heat directed at the tumor facilitates your body’s natural immune system to destroy the tumor. Hyperthermia has also been shown to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
How does hyperthermia improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy?
By increasing the blood flow to a tumor, hyperthermia delivers more chemotherapy to all parts of the tumor, especially to the tumor’s core where it is difficult for chemotherapy to reach. Hyperthermia also makes the outer membrane of tumor cells more porous, which allows chemotherapy and other medications to better penetrate the tumor cells, further amplifying the effects of chemotherapy. Finally, many types of chemotherapy damage the DNA of cancer cells, targeting them for destruction. Hyperthermia works by preventing your body from repairing the cancer cell DNA, thereby keeping the cancer cell vulnerable to chemotherapy.
How does hyperthermia improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy is more effective in a high-oxygen environment. Because hyperthermia increases the blood flow to a tumor, more oxygen flows to all parts of the tumor, including the tumor’s center. Radiation therapy also damages cancer cell DNA, targeting them for destruction. Hyperthermia prevents your body from repairing the cancer cell DNA, thereby keeping the cancer cell vulnerable to radiation therapy.
What is a typical hyperthermia treatment regimen?
In each case, treatment regimens are created specifically to your needs. Each hyperthermia treatment generally takes about 45 minutes to one hour. For example, each time a patient experiences radiation, he or she should have hyperthermia treatment that same day. Chemotherapy regimens differ by tumor type so the hyperthermia treatment regimen is aligned with each patient's chemotherapy treatment plan.
What if I am traveling from out of town?
We see patients from all over the world. If you are flying in for treatment, or need a ride, we can assist you in scheduling and coordinating your appointments. Please be sure to check out our "Plan Your Visit" page. In some cases, we can help to secure funding for housing and travel through various cancer foundations and support groups. Our caring staff is here to alleviate any concern or stress you might have in planning your treatment, so you can focus on healing.
Who performs the treatment?
Your first consult is with our physician, Joseph Pinzone, M.D. Dr. Pinzone works in conjunction with our medical team of licensed nurses to create and implement an optimal hyperthermia treatment plan tailored to your clinical presentation and administered by our Patient Care Team. Our patients often remark on the high level of skill and compassion provided by our experienced and caring team.
Are there any potential side effects with hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia therapy does not have the side effects associated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Hyperthermia is heat therapy, which might cause reddening or minor blistering of the skin. To prevent any of these effects, which are typically temporary, our nurses closely monitor every patient during the hyperthermia application. Most patients rarely experience any side effects.
What if I don’t want, or can’t have, radiation therapy or chemotherapy, can I still receive hyperthermia without these therapies?
Our results show hyperthermia works best in conjunction with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. We have treated patients who request only hyperthermia and are clinically suited for only hyperthermia. All treatment plans are individualized. If you have decided to only have hyperthermia, it is best to call us so we can determine if it will be beneficial to your treatment plan.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Call our office toll free at 888.786.0997 to speak with our Patient Care Team.