Hyperthermia Chemotherapy: A Promising Cancer Treatment
Posted: Nov 09, 2013
Hyperthermia chemotherapy is an increasingly promising cancer treatment which is developing a significant role in the support of radiation and chemical chemotherapy. Applied heat therapy has been used since ancient times. In the 19th century, it was noted that tumor shrinkage, and even the regression of soft tissue sarcoma, occurred after the patient had experienced a sustained high fever. Exposure of cancer cells to high temperatures makes them more vulnerable to the effects of radiation and other therapies. For certain types of cancer, it is most effective when performed in conjunction with other, more traditional therapies. The increases in circulation due to even a slightly raised temperature can double the effectiveness of other treatments such as radiation. High temperatures directed to the site causes oxygen deprivation of the cancer cells which in turn deprives them of oxygen. The metabolism of the cell is disrupted, and results in the death of the cell. It also limits the ability of cancer cells to divide, which also disrupts the cells ability to metabolize. Its use in conjunction with radiation has been known to increase the success of treatment by 70%.
As a supplemental therapy, hyperthermia radiation therapy can be controlled to minimize any damage to healthy, non-cancerous cells. More extreme temperatures can be used for the ablation of cancerous tumors, although a maximum temperature of 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius) is recommended to avoid unnecessary damage to healthy tissue. The temperatures necessary for the support of radiation are not possible to achieve without significant risk of serious injury, so whole body treatment is not recommended for radiation support, but can be used with chemical chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
The treatment area for hyperthermia chemotherapy can be controlled to a very specific point, such as directly to a tumor, a specific region of the body to treat a wider area, or the entire body can be exposed to hyperthermia for more general treatment. The treatment normally takes up to an hour to perform. Treatments should be applied no more than twice a week to avoid the ability of cancer cells to become accustomed to the higher temperature and therefore become more resistant to the therapy. For maximum effectiveness, it should be applied within one to two hours of radiation therapy.
Most side effects are attributed to the exposure of tissue to extreme temperature and are controlled by limited exposure in a very short period of time. Temporary blisters are a frequent side effect as are burns, which can cause more permanent damage. Other side effects can include pain, nausea, fatigue, blood clots, vomiting, and sometimes cardiovascular problems. These risks are calculable against the expected effectiveness of the therapy to increase the success of simultaneous treatments.
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The author of this article became internationally acclaimed owing to his writings on hyperthermia cancer treatment Germany.