Deep Tissue Hyperthermia
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Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) offers deep tissue hyperthermia, an innovative technology used in conjunction with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, to treat certain cancerous tumors deep in the pelvic or abdominal regions of the body.
Where Is it Being Offered?
In January 2011, CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma became the third hospital in the country to offer the BSD-2000 Hyperthermia System.*
In June 2011, CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania acquired this technology.
Although centers throughout Europe have been using hyperthermia for years, the machine is not widely available in the United States.
What Cancer Types Does it Treat?
Formerly a national investigational research study, deep tissue hyperthermia is now FDA-approved to treat cervical cancer in conjunction with radiation therapy. This may be a promising option for cervical cancer patients who can no longer receive chemotherapy.
Deep tissue hyperthermia is also being investigated in conjunction with radiation therapy or chemotherapy for the treatment of other abdominal and pelvic-area tumors (e.g., prostate, soft tissue sarcoma, endometrial, ovarian, uterine, rectal, bladder, colon, pancreatic and gastric). This may be promising for patients with locally advanced, persistent or recurrent deep tumors of the pelvis.
Another treatment option for patients who may not qualify for deep tissue hyperthermia may be local hyperthermia, which treats tumors closer to the skin surface.
How Does it Work?
Prior to this procedure, a CT scan is performed to precisely locate the tumor area. During the deep tissue hyperthermia treatment, one temperature probe is placed along the gluteal fold and two to three more are inserted into naturally occurring orifices, to accurately monitor external and internal temperatures during the treatment.
A water-filled applicator is then placed over the patient’s abdomen and focused electromagnetic energy (radio frequency energy) is directed at the tumor, heating the tumor to a temperature between 104oF to 107oF, which is about the temperature of a standard hot tub.
Deep tissue hyperthermia dilates blood vessels around the tumor, causing oxygen-carrying red blood cells to spread into the tumor.
When the patient is later exposed to radiation treatment, the radiation reacts with the high levels of oxygen in the tumor, potentially destroying the cancer cells.
When the patient receives chemotherapy after deep tissue hyperthermia, the increased blood flow to the tumor area potentially brings more chemotherapy to the tumor.
The heating effect is monitored and can be turned down if it becomes too hot. It immediately stops when the equipment is turned off.
The deep tissue hyperthermia treatment can take up to two hours and is typically performed twice a week for the duration of the radiation or chemotherapy treatment.
What Are the Potential Advantages?
The machine is designed to reach tumors that are located more than 3 cm under the skin surface.
Cancer cells may be weakened or destroyed, while healthy tissue is usually not damaged.
Side effects are generally minimal.
*Please note: At that time, the BSD-2000 Hyperthermia System was being offered to a limited number of qualified clinical study participants under an FDA-approved protocol.
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