Germany is one of the most successful countries in the field of cancer treatment. German clinics offer the latest methods of fighting malignant neoplasms that are not available in hospitals of other countries yet. One of the actively developing methods is called hyperthermia. High temperatures influence cancer cells during the treatment.
What is hyperthermia and which types of hyperthermia exist?
Hyperthermia is a treatment method which involves heating of the human body tissues to safe temperatures. Unlike radiofrequency ablation or other methods of tumor destruction, hyperthermia does not damage healthy tissues in the human body. Heating reaches 39.5-40.5 degrees, sometimes up to 43 degrees during the therapy process.
There are several types of hyperthermia, such as:
Local, small areas of the body are exposed to the heating. In this case, the tumor is destroyed without temperature influence on the healthy tissue. The source of heating can be represented by ultrasound, radiofrequency, or microwave exposure. The magnetic hyperthermia is also used. The heating can affect body from the outside, if the tumor can be reached by this approach. Otherwise, the heating source is inserted into the body with the help of needles or probes. If the needle is injected directly into the tumor, this procedure is called interstitial hyperthermia.
Regional, a particular organ or part of the body is exposed to heating (for example, a limb). The purpose of the intervention is to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic or radiation influence. This method is most often used as an additional one, in combination with other therapeutic methods.
In case of regional hyperthermia, different methods of the human body parts heating can be used. These may be same heating sources as in local hyperthermia. The machines, which extracorporeally (outside the human body) heat the blood by passing it through the special devices, are also used. Blood of higher temperature returns to the targeted part of the body.
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a type of regional hyperthermia. The essence of the procedure is that after the removal of a malignant tumor of the abdominal cavity, abdomen is washed with a heated chemo solution. This method is performed in Germany, although it is still not available in most countries. Hot anticancer drugs destroy the remaining cancer cells, and therefore the procedure significantly reduces the risk of recurrence.
General hyperthermia is the third type of this treatment method. It involves heating the whole body. It is used in case of metastatic cancer. Infrared radiation is used as a heat source or a person is simply placed in a room with a high air temperature.
High Level-Whole Body Hyperthermia is a type of general hyperthermia in which patient's body is heated to the temperature of 43-43.7 degrees. This procedure requires a special training in order to protect healthy body tissues. The preparation is carried out within a few days. Heating of the human body is performed under the general anesthesia. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour.
How does hyperthermia work?
High temperatures can have a direct cytotoxic effect on the tumor tissues as they are more sensitive to the heating than healthy cells of the body. It happens because the tumor is located in the unfavorable microenvironment. It does not receive enough oxygen and nutrients, therefore its cells are less resistant to any influences.
Hyperthermia increases the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy. This is due to the increased blood flow to the tumor. Perfusion can increase in the healthy tissues by 2 times, and in tumor tissue it increases by 10 times. It improves the penetration of chemotherapy drugs into the malignant tumor.
The heating blocks cell restoration mechanisms after irradiation.
The stimulation of immunity occurs under the influence of the high temperature. Body's own defenses begin to resist the tumor process more effectively.
Hyperthermia increases the possibility of penetration of drugs with high molecular weight (more than 1000 Daltons) into the cells. Primarily, these are monoclonal antibodies and liposomal drugs.
Who needs hyperthermia?
Local hyperthermia can be used in cancer of the breast, skin, prostate, rectum, pharynx, and larynx. If the tumor is available for the direct heating, then its temperature can be increased in order to destroy the neoplasm cells.
Intraoperative hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy is used directly during the surgery. The indications include gastric cancer and some types of malignant intestinal tumors. This method is also used for metastatic peritoneal lesions and for cancer of other localizations.
General hyperthermia is used in almost all types of the cancer, including metastatic one. It sets the following purposes:
- Tumor reduction before the surgery.
- Neoplasm relapse prevention due to the destruction of metastases. For this purpose hyperthermia is performed after surgery as early as possible, sometimes in 2-3 weeks.
- Symptoms relieving by reducing the tumor size in case of inoperable cancer.
Today hyperthermia is an alternative treatment option. It is not used as widely as other methods. Hyperthermia cannot replace surgery or radiation therapy, but only complements them. Local or general heating of the body can also be used when other treatment methods are not medically applicable or if the patient refuses them.
The benefits of hyperthermia in the treatment of cancer are:
- It has minimal contraindications. Therefore, it can be used in weakened patients, even when they are unable to receive chemotherapy or undergo the radiation course for health reasons.
- There are no side effects. The procedure is well tolerated by most patients.
- There are no big money expenditures. Heating of a particular part of the body or the whole body does not require expensive drugs or usage of the high-tech equipment.
- In most cases the procedure is non-invasive. The heating source is located outside the human body or it is placed inside through the natural openings (urethra, mouth, rectum).
- The possibility of carrying out on an outpatient basis. A person does not need to be hospitalized.
- It can be used as an addition to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, in order to increase their effectiveness.
If you want to take advantages of the latest achievements of German medicine in the field of cancer treatment, you should contact the company Booking Health for assistance. Booking Health offers help in such important aspects:
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Make a request on our website to learn more about the possibility of booking the medical program with the help of Booking Health.
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Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova