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Hyperthermia Cancer Therapy

OncoTherm hyperthermia treatments are a non-invasive treatment of primary cancer and/or it’s metastasis by using radiofrequencies to generate heat in tumor beds thus damaging proteins in the tumours. The damage to cells during hyperthermia can make them more sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy so these treatments work better, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. At the same time, hyperthermia delivers anti-cancer medicines (for example, chemotherapy) in the system to the areas of the tumor, where they need to go. No other system aids in this way. Because it helps to focus agents such as chemotherapy on the tumor other healthy tissues are less affected and less side-effects tend to occur.

Loco-regional hyperthermia (LRHT) generates heat within a localized area of the body, such as a tumour with radio frequencies by placing the probe over the tumor area. These frequencies generate deep tumor heating to fever temperatures that cannot be achieved with radiant heat or infrared saunas. Loco-regional hyperthermia has a goal temperature of 42°C to 45°C that is sustained for approximately one hour overtop/around the affected area. Most of the body remains at the average core temperature with just the tumour increasing in temperature.

Whole-body hyperthermia (WBHT) generates heat throughout the body and attempts to reach a temperature balance – between 38.5°C to 40.5°C – through vasodilation, or an increase in the size of blood vessels.

Hyperthermia is usually used in conjunction with anti-cancer medicines. Hyperthermia tends to heat the tumours to a fever temperature which breaks up the surface of the tumour. As this is happening, the immune system stops the cancer cells from growing. The studies show that hyperthermia creates circulation to an active tumour and helps deliver anti-cancer medicine to the treatment area. 

Hyperthermia treatment uses heat to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours. Heat can harm or kill cancer cells by damaging proteins and structures within the cells. Heat also damages blood vessels inside of tumours and causes less blood flow to the tumour, which can help slow its growth. The temperature of the heat used in hyperthermia treatment is carefully controlled to limit damage to normal cells and tissues. Researchers have also found that heat can trigger an immune response that may help fight cancer.

Canadian Cancer Society
Dr. Joel, shown demonstrating OncoTherm Hyperthermia treatment

Frequently Asked Questions:

What will I feel during the hyperthermia treatment? 

During your one-hour treatment, you will be relaxed and laying on the hyperthermia bed, and the probe will be placed over the treatment area. You will experience some warmth from the probe during the session. No intense heat is felt since there is a cool bladder under the probe protecting your skin. For brain cancers specifically, the treatment session is a shorter duration. A great feature of using hyperthermia, outside of its effectiveness in treating cancer, is there are no side effects, unlike what you’d experience with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. 

How do I prepare for my treatment?

Before treatment, it is recommended that patients have a meal without but not consume a lot of liquids. Please wear comfortable and loose clothing, and ensure all clothing is free of metal such as zippers, rivets, and belts, and remove all jewelry, including necklaces, rings, and earrings. Gowns can be used in the Oncotherm room during treatments.

What might I experience after the treatment?

Since there are no side effects of treatment, patients are capable of driving and carrying on with their day as usual.Various studies from hospitals in Germany show a benefit for virtually every cancer to varying degrees. Because each patient’s condition is different, it will be determined during the initial consultation if hyperthermia is appropriate for a particular case.  Get more information on alternative cancer treatments in Canada.

Book an appointment or call our office today at (204) 808-3632 to discuss potential treatment options.