Hyperthermia Treatment: Turning Up the Heat to Fight Against Cancer

The cancer treatment of the future is available now.

It’s called hyperthermia, and it involves destroying cancer cells by raising the temperature of tumors. The principle behind hyperthermia is that heat improves blood circulation, leaving cancer cells more susceptible to the low-dose radiation therapy, thus killing them more efficiently and quickly.

“The combination of hyperthermia treatment and low dose radiation makes this therapy one of the most effective and lower side effects cancer treatment available today,” according to The Bicher Cancer Institute in Los Angeles, California.

Although few people are aware of hyperthermia treatment, and even fewer doctors are likely to recommend it to their cancer patients, this treatment has been approved by the FDA since 1984. Hyperthermia treatment is very well documented. Not only is the National Cancer Institute conducting its own studies, but many other prestigious institutions are also testing this highly promising modality.

In 2006, Duke University initiated very serious research on the use of hyperthermia treatment with low dose radiation, and they have since published a number of scientific papers on this subject.

Best of all, current practitioners of hyperthermia treatment report that many patients get better from day one and continue to improve over the course of the treatment.

The Long History of Heat as a Healing Force

Stories about the miraculous effects of thermal therapy go back centuries … even the Law of Moses mentions hot springs as a means of therapeutically elevating body temperature. hyperthermia treatment

In addition, written records show that ancient Egyptians treated tumors with heat as early as 5,000 B.C. Later, Renaissance-era reports document spontaneous tumor regressions in patients with smallpox, influenza, tuberculosis, and malaria.

The common factor in all those illnesses? A fever of about 104 degrees.

Scattered reports of similar incidents continued throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

These examples are just some of the many documented cases of early applications of thermal therapy.

The Doctor Who Pioneered Hyperthermia in the United States

Dr. James I. Bicher is to be thanked for the fact that hyperthermia treatment is now available to the American public. This dedicated physician spent decades amassing the necessary body of clinical research and testing needed to earn hyperthermia its legal standing as an approved medical procedure, which finally happened in 1984.

Hyperthermic oncology, or the use of concentrated heat to destroy cancerous tissue, is now regarded as an extremely beneficial treatment. It’s recommended both for locally recurrent tumors as well as primary cancers that have not responded to other treatment methods.

How Hyperthermia Treatment Works

The principles of heating tumors as a cancer cure have been widely understood for years. However, the technology needed to direct the heat developed far more slowly than the theory.

Fortunately, medical science has caught up. Hyperthermia treatment practitioners now have the advantage of finely tuned sensors and directional applicators that can control the placement of heat so that the temperature of the targeted tumors is raised without damaging healthy tissue.

Ideally, the internal temperature of the tumor should be raised to 108° Fahrenheit for 40 to 60 minutes. Sometimes these very high temperatures alone can kill cancer cells outright.

Lee Euler, a renowned author and writer specializing in alternative health topics and especially cancer treatments, says of hyperthermia: “If I had cancer myself, I would seek out a clinic that offers this therapy. It’s not a magic bullet cancer cure all by itself, but it’s definitely one of the treatments most cancer patients should take advantage of.”

However, experts advise that the experience and qualifications of the medical doctor are of paramount importance with this treatment. Even with the finest equipment, temperatures in the 108° range can damage or kill healthy cells and tissue, if misapplied.

A Two-Pronged Approach

While some evidence demonstrates that hyperthermia treatment alone can kill cancer cells, the majority of current research indicates that hyperthermia is most valuable when used as part of a dual-pronged cancer treatment program.

Integrative oncology, or integrative cancer treatment, describes the combination of a mainstream treatment with a complementary therapy. Many experts believe the most effective integrative cancer therapy developed so far is the combined use of low-dose radiation therapy and hyperthermia.

This approach has remarkable advantages and benefits, such as:

  • Immediate pain reduction and the elimination of the need for pain medications
  • No nausea
  • No discomfort
  • Rapid improvement seen even after one session
  • Improved immune system response

Since heat improves blood circulation and is thought to make tumor cells more susceptible to low-dose radiation, the two approaches, when combined, enhance each other’s ability to kill tumor cells more quickly.

Hyperthermia treatment has proven to be effective for treating the following:

  • Breast cancer
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Neck, throat, tonsil and tongue cancers
  • Prostate cancer

The dual treatment option has been used so successfully that it is now recognized and paid for by most insurance companies, including Medicare.

The National Cancer Institute Studies Hyperthermia Treatment

The National Cancer institute is studying several different methods of hyperthermia treatment. The 3 most promising are local, regional, and whole-body. Though all the methods use the same basic principles, they differ in important ways.

  • For local hyperthermia treatment, heat is applied only to a small area—typically the tumor—using a variety of delivery techniques.
  • For regional hyperthermia treatment, a large area of tissue is heated. This might be an organ, a body cavity, or even an entire limb.
  • Whole-body hyperthermia treatment is used to treat metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread within the body). By using hot water blankets or thermal incubators (essentially large incubators), this technique can be used as an all-over treatment.

According to the NCI’s website, “many clinical trials are being conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of hyperthermia treatment.” The Institute is hopeful about the potential of these various treatments.