When people think of the term “hyperthermia”, they often associate it with a negative connotation. This is because hyperthermia usually describes a body temperature that is higher than normal which can lead to other serious conditions such as a fever or stroke. What many are unaware of is that hyperthermia is also a type of treatment for different cancer types. According to the National Library of Medicine, “heat has profound effects on cells” and this type of treatment is actually not a new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, the father of medicine Hippocrates theorized heat as a potential therapy to shrink tumors¹. When cells are exposed to high temperatures, the cell undergoes changes within its DNA. In some cases, extreme heat can even kill tumor cells, however some may question if this treatment can be done without damaging other nearby tissues. The answer is yes.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer (or other cancer types) and are seeking alternative forms of treatment are often ordered a series of Molecular Hyperthermia Therapies (or I-Therm) as part of their cancer program. But, what is this treatment and how does it work to delay the progression of tumor growth?
What is I-Therm?
I-Therm is a treatment offered to cancer patients at LifeWorks to heat body tissues and promote healing with increased blood flow within the system. Additionally, I-Therm treatments are also offered to those with severe joint pains, nerve damage or physical therapy purposes. The heat is produced by a therapeutic technology that connects to a pad and is placed on the affected area or tumor. The pad produces a shortwave electromagnetic field to apply heat to tissues that are about six inches (15 cm) beneath the skin. Typically, when muscle tissues exceed high temperatures of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius), the body reacts by cooling the blood to prevent muscles from overheating. The increased blood flow assists with removing damaged or dead tissues, excess fluids, inflammation and cell debris while simultaneously inducing repair within cellular DNA with the production of oxygen and nutrients.
What to Expect During an Initial Treatment
Patients will be instructed to lay on a comfortable bed while the I-Therm technician provides them with a heating pad that they will place on the tumor location. Breast cancer patients will typically apply the pad to the affected breast, however if the tumor is located in a hard-to-reach area (such as the pancreas or liver) the technician will tightly secure the heating pad to the patient’s side and/or stomach with an elastic wrap. During the procedure it is critical that the patient remains still to keep the pad on the tumor area at all times. Once the patient is prepped, the machine is turned on and the pad will heat to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius). The procedure lasts for approximately one hour, therefore patients will be permitted to sleep, listen to music (with headphones) or read a book to help time pass more swiftly.
The Benefits of I-Therm
When it comes to cancer treatment, hyperthermia is recognized by the American Cancer Society as an effective and noninvasive technique to reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells. Furthermore, it assists the effectiveness of other LifeWorks cancer treatments such as insulin-potentiation therapy (IPT) and peptides by achieving better apoptosis. For those who may have pain as a symptom of their cancer or joint issues, I-Therm also helps to relieve pain, and induce healing by accelerating blood flow, secreting cytokines and increasing oxygen supply.
Side Effects of I-Therm
I-Therm is an extremely safe and noninvasive cancer fighting tool, however like many procedures, it also comes with a few temporary side effects. According to the American Cancer Society, side effects of the treatment may vary depending on the cancer type, the part of the body that is being treated, and the sensitivity of the individual². Our brains are sensitive to extreme heat and for some people, this can be discomforting or painful while others may handle it more smoothly. Due to this, some people may experience a temporary infection, burns, blistering or skin damage. If patients are in too much pain or suffer from burns, temperatures can be adjusted to as low as 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius).
Before Receiving a Treatment…
While it’s recognized as an effective cancer treatment, it is not recommended for all cancer types nor is the strategy used in all cancer centers. Additionally, hyperthermia works best when combined with other forms of treatment rather than as a solo technique, especially for those with more advanced stages of cancer. Prior to receiving a treatment, patients must consult with a LifeWorks cancer specialist to discuss their diagnosis details, medical history, and other current or underlying conditions.
LifeWorks Wellness Center has successfully treated breast cancer patients using natural and holistic remedies for 23 years. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer (or other cancer types), please call to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists at 727-466-6789.