Announcer: ACTION NEWS – Delaware valley’s leading news program!
Newsreader: In ‘HealthCheck’ this morning, there are many high-tech approaches these days to fighting cancer but one cancer center here in Philadelphia is finding success with a rather low-tech principle – heat. Health Reporter Ali Gorman this morning, who is also a registered nurse, explains exactly how it works.
Ali Gorman: After two battles with breast cancer life was just getting back to normal for Dianne Pomon, Pottstown. Then came crushing news – there was a new tumor. Despite promises from her doctors that surgery had eradicated her cancer.
Dianne Pomon: It is devastating because you are looking at it as this could be the end. This could be the beginning of the end.
Ali Gorman: This mother of five and Director of a crisis pregnancy center knew she needed radiation but she wanted to add something new – hyperthermia or heat treatments. After looking for it overseas Dianne found it was being offered at the Cancer Treatment Centers in Hunting Park.
Hyperthermia uses microwaves to heat tumor cells.
Dr. Curt Heese: Twice a week they get about a one-hour session where they lie down on the treatment bed. We actually locate where it is we want to treat, and then the device is placed against that area.
Ali Gorman: The microwave raises the temperature of the tissue underneath to 108-110 degrees. It makes malignant cancer cells more vulnerable to radiation.
Dr. Curt Heese: For a period of time 48 to 72 hours, let’s say, the blood supply in that area changes such that there is more oxygen and more ability for the radiation to affect those tumor cells.
Ali Gorman: Hyperthermia has FDA approval for using cancers on or just under this scan, such as melanoma, head and neck tumors and some breast cancers like Diane’s. On the downside, some patients get skin burns, pain or ulcers. Diane, however, says it was the easiest treatment she has been through. Doctors say Diane is now cancer-free. Hyperthermia can be used for first time or recurring cancers. Doctors are still exploring all the uses for this treatment. Ali Gorman - Channel 6, ACTION NEWS.