A new treatment for cancer involves combining heat and chemotherapy to improve outcomes. German scientists used electromagnetic energy to heat the soft tissue around tumors in fat, muscle and cartilage. This regional hyperthermia appears to enhance the effectiveness of classic chemo. It also improves blood flow to the tumor, which helps the chemotherapy penetrate the tumor more readily. The patients who received this heat treatment along with their chemo were less likely to experience a recurrence of their cancer or die in the following three years. More study is needed to see how well this approach will work with other types of tumors.
[ECCO-ESMO European cancer congress, Berlin, 9/21/09]

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  1. alfred l. p.

    Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a technique used to treat gastrointestinal cancers and sarcomas that have spread to the lining of the abdomen.
    HIPEC is done in combination with surgery, and involves using a using a heated chemotherapy solution that is circulated throughout the abdominal cavity while the patient is in the operating room.
    Following surgery to remove any visible tumors, the patient is connected to a series of catheters and a pumping device that bathes the entire abdominal cavity with the chemotherapy drugs for approximately two hours.
    The high temperature of the solution has been found to increase the drug’s therapeutic effect. The fluid goes throughout the abdomen to treat any tumor cells that may remain after surgery. Both heat and direct contact with chemotherapy drugs kills the cancer cells.
    Clinical studies have shown HIPEC to be significantly more effective than surgery alone for GI cancers that have spread to the abdomen. Combined with tumor removal, HIPEC can improve survival and quality of life for patients who would otherwise have few if any options. The technique has also been shown to reduce pain dramatically.

  2. Barb S.

    During my chemo for breast cancer, 2004, I’d read about heat so used a
    heating pad over the area about two hours per day. My oncologist later
    was amazed by how much the tumor had shrunk. Anecdotes prove nothing, but my experience confirms this research.

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